The Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) and others, celebrated the success in defending the Iran Nuclear Agreement in the US Congress on Saturday, October 17 (the eve of the Effective Date of the deal) at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton. We were joined by key leaders in our region who helped make it happen. The Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) collaborated with numerous groups for two years to advocate in Congress for Diplomacy with Iran. The following Key leaders, who helped make the Iran Agreement a success, were present to say a few words:
~US Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
~Dr. Frank von Hippel, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
~Dr. Rob Goldston, Former Director of the Plasma Physics Lab of Princeton University
~Ed Aguilar, J.D., Coalition for Peace Action, Pennsylvania Director
~The Rev. Robert Moore, Coalition for Peace Action - Princeton Regional Headquarters, Executive Director
~Irene Etkin Goldman, Chair, Coalition for Peace Action
~Dr. Firoozeh Vali, Coordinator of CFPA's Persian New Year celebrations
~Maria Afsharian, Co-captain, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)- NJ Chapter
~Madelyn Hoffman, Executive Director, NJ Peace Action
CFPA could not have accomplished this without all of your support as a peace team together!
(Below Photos are courtesy of CFPA Volunteer Photographer, John Lien)
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) giving her remarks to a crowd of 60 at CFPA's Celebration Event for Success of Diplomacy with Iran on October 17, 2015
From left: Dr. Rob Goldston, Former Director of the Plasma Physics Lab of Princeton University; Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12); Dr. Frank von Hippel, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
From left: Irene Goldman, Chair of the Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), toast to the success of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
CFPA and allies Thank Senator Cory Booker for his support of the Iran Deal Newark, NJ 9/25/15
On Friday, September 25, the Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA), NJ Peace Action, Moveon, and NIAC, participated and co-sponsored an event thanking Senator Cory Booker in his Newark-NJ office, for his support on the Iran Accord. CFPA was met by Senator Booker's staffer, Zoe Baldwin (pictured holding flowers in center below), and interviewed by Ang Santos, from WBGO News Radio.
Rev. Bob Moore, CFPA Executive Director, presenting Thank You poster to Sen. Cory Booker's staff. Poster presented to Sen. Booker's staff by CFPA and allies, in his Newark office.
Read and listen to the coverage: Peace Groups Thank Sen. Booker In Support of Iran Deal by Ang Santos of WBGO News Online Here!
When all is said and done, what the recently-approved Iran nuclear agreement is all about is ensuring that Iran honors its commitment under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) not to develop nuclear weapons.
But the NPT—which was ratified in 1968 and which went into force in 1970—has two kinds of provisions. The first is that non-nuclear powers forswear developing a nuclear weapons capability. The second is that nuclear-armed nations divest themselves of their own nuclear weapons. Article VI of the treaty is quite explicit on this second point, stating: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
What has been the record of the nuclear powers when it comes to compliance with the NPT?- See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/160658#sthash.opcGbHrm.dpuf
But the NPT—which was ratified in 1968 and which went into force in 1970—has two kinds of provisions. The first is that non-nuclear powers forswear developing a nuclear weapons capability. The second is that nuclear-armed nations divest themselves of their own nuclear weapons. Article VI of the treaty is quite explicit on this second point, stating: "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."
What has been the record of the nuclear powers when it comes to compliance with the NPT?
- See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/160658#sthash.opcGbHrm.dpuf
WASHINGTON — With Senate Democrats blocking passage of a resolution disapproving of the Iran nuclear deal, the attention will shift from the halls of Congress to the nations and international agencies that must put the accord into effect. Here’s what happens next.
Q. What is the first thing that will happen?
A. The agreement is to be formally adopted on Oct. 19 — 90 days after it was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. That is the day Iran and the six world powers that concluded the accord — the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China — are to start taking steps to comply, although most of the early burden falls on Iran. (Read Compete Article)
Once in a while, democracy inspires. As it did this morning when U.S. Sen. Cory Booker visited a temple in Livingston to explain his support for the new agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons.
The questions, from a crowd of about 75 Jews and non-Jews who gathered at Temple B'nai Abraham, were penetrating. The speakers had done their homework. (Read Complete Article)
CFPA Leaders and friends were present at the meeting with Senator Booker in Livingston, NJ on September 8, 2015. See Recent Events.
A disaster has been averted. The nuclear deal concluded by six major powers with Iran is now unstoppable in Congress. The only question is whether President Obama will have to veto a Republican resolution of disapproval or Democrats will have enough votes to spare him that obligation by filibustering the resolution and ensuring it never leaves the Senate.
The second outcome would be preferable. An override-proof presidential veto of a congressional resolution of disapproval is not the best path to a historic international accord. Major arms control treaties used to be bipartisan affairs. Those days are gone. Still, Republican maneuvering, backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, has not prevailed. That’s a victory for reason in a season of rage. (Read Complete Article)
Read an open letter from 75 former Members of Congress, including longtime CFPA sponsor Rush Holt, to current members of Congress urging them to support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran HERE.
See guests Dr. Robert Goldston, Professor US DOE Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Dr. Frank von Hippel, Professor of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, speak on the U.S. Iranian Nuclear Deal on Princeton Community Television's BackStory with Joan Goldstein HERE
Read physicists and long-time CFPA sponsors, Rush Holt and Frank von Hippel, answer technical questions on the Iran Nuclear Deal HERE!
Give Peace a Chance!
On July 14, after nearly two years of tough negotiations, an Agreement on the Iran Nuclear Issue was reached. For obviously partisan reasons, many Republicans came out against the agreement before it was even delivered to them. On August 6, the Senate’s third ranking Democrat, Chuck Schumer, also came out against it.
I am reminded of a slogan many of us used in opposing the Vietnam War: Give Peace a Chance! Polls show that a majority of Americans support this Agreement, and want it to be implemented. But Congress now has until September 17 to take action and could reject the deal, possibly even over-riding a promised Presidential veto.
Walking away from this hard-won agreement will result in Iran being able to get a bomb in as little as two weeks, while having international sanctions collapse. The US would be soon face another disastrous Middle East War, far worse than the ones in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Read Complete Article)
Twenty-nine of the nation’s top scientists — including Nobel laureates, veteran makers of nuclear arms and former White House science advisers — wrote to President Obama on Saturday to praise the Iran deal, calling it innovative and stringent.
The letter, from some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in the fields of nuclear weapons and arms control, arrives as Mr. Obama is lobbying Congress, the American public and the nation’s allies to support the agreement.
The two-page letter may give the White House arguments a boost after the blow Mr. Obama suffered on Thursday when Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a Democrat and among the most influential Jewish voices in Congress, announced he would oppose the deal, which calls for Iran to curb its nuclear program and allow inspections in return for an end to international oil and financial sanctions. (Read Complete Article)
Members of Congress are fleeing Washington’s steam bath for their August recess, making this a key time for constituents to raise their voices on crucial issues.
Right now, the biggest thing lawmakers must decide is whether they’ll join the 54 percent of voters who support diplomacy over war, or if they’d rather to kill the Iran nuclear deal.
The pact is a boon to regional security in the Middle East. The leader of Israel, the only state in the Middle East that does have a nuclear arsenal — one estimated to total 300 or even more nuclear weapons — must cease his endless scare-mongering over Iran’s supposed future nuclear threat. (Read Complete Article Online)
Dr. Frank von Hippel's (Nuclear Physicist and Nuclear Arms Expert, Princeton University), Power Point Presentation on the Latest Update of the Iran Nuclear Deal given at CFPA's August 5, 2015 Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration
New Poll Finds Strong Support for Iran Nuclear Deal July 27, 2015 Daily Kos by Joan McCarter
Among the key findings:
-Only 38% of voters are opposed to the Iran deal, compared to 54% who are supportive of it. Democratic voters (75/17) are far more united in their favor for the agreement than Republicans (36/54) are in their opposition to it. Voters within every gender, race, and age group are in support of it, reflecting the broad based mandate for the deal.
-Similarly 54% of voters want their members of Congress to vote to allow the agreement to move forward, compared to just 39% who would like to see it blocked. […]
-There are basically no potential repercussions politically for members of Congress who do vote in support of the agreement. 60% of Americans say that if their members vote for it, they will be either more likely to vote for them in the future or it won’t make a difference either way in their future voting. (Read Complete Article)
Read an Iran Nuclear Policy Brief from the Arms Control Association, on An Effective, Verifiable Nuclear Deal with Iran July 15, 2015
Read Coalition for Peace Action's (CFPA) Pennsylvania Director, Ed Aguilar's Fact Sheet on Iran Nuclear Agreement
Ed Aguilar was interviewed on Univision, the top US Spanish-language TV and Radio network, about the Iran Nuclear Deal on July 15, 2015. Read the same Fact Sheet in Spanish.
Read an outline from J Street of how the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is wrong to reject Iran agreement
Read an article co-authored by Dr. Zia Mian and Dr. Frank von Hippel, nuclear science experts who spoke at CFPA's Membership Renewal Gathering in March, entitled After the Iran deal: Multinational Enrichment
The Op-Ed below appeared in the June 6 Trenton Times.
To Prevent a War with Iran, Remember the Deceptions of Iraq
by the Rev. Robert Moore and Richard Moody
The question recently was raised to presumed presidential candidate Jeb Bush whether, knowing what he knows now, he would have started a war with Iraq as his brother, President George W. Bush, did in 2003. His initial answer, on which he flip-flopped a number of times in the days following, was yes.
We tend to believe his first answer, partly because it was unvarnished before any public blowback—but even more because many of his top foreign policy advisors include those who championed the rush to war using manipulated intelligence on Iraq. It is crucial to remember the truth about what led to that war, as we may be on the verge of being neo-conned into another even more disastrous war—with Iran.
The Bush Administration’s decision to “sell” the war began in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, when Vice-President Cheney brought up an attack on Iraq as a response. This was in spite of the widely known fact that Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaida, and actually was deeply antagonistic to it.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld formed an ad-hoc group to manipulate intelligence to make Iraq appear connected to the terrorism of 9-11 and, particularly, to be a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) threat. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice started warning of a “mushroom cloud in our future” if Iraq wasn’t attacked. Rumsfeld said it was known precisely where such weapons were at in Iraq. Later inspections showed such allegations to be deceptions.
The evidence of Iraq’s nuclear weapons cited by President Bush in his January 2002 State of the Union was preposterous. The so-called “proof” that Iraq obtained yellow cake ( unprocessed uranium a very long ways from nuclear weapons grade) from Niger was easily debunked when former Ambassador Joseph Wilson showed that the document purportedly proving it had the signature of an official long out of office.
Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the “facts” before the UN Security Council in February 2003, just a month before the war. Key evidence was based on the testimony of a single, low ranking, discredited alcoholic Iraqi operative. Outdated photos of Mirage fighter jets were shown, implying that Iraq still had capability to drop anthrax—even though all Mirages were destroyed or moved out of the country after the first Gulf War.
Dr. Hans Blix, former chief UN Weapons Inspector in Iraq, told one of us he had personally certified to President Bush shortly before the war that there were no nuclear weapons in Iraq. He added that given just two more months, he would be able to certify whether there were any chemical or biological weapons. Bush refused to wait even that short time to give peace a chance.
Those in such a rush to unleash the “dogs of war” assured the public that the Iraq invasion would be a cakewalk, with few US casualties, and lasting victory coming in just a few months. We were told Iraqi oil revenues would easily cover the entire cost of the war. By the end of US troop deployments, nearly 4,500 US soldiers and up to one million Iraqis died, and the estimated costs to the US taxpayer exceeded $3 trillion.
In haunting parallel, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, in contradiction to the president’s exclusive Constitutional prerogative of negotiating international agreements, organized a Senate letter to Iran’s leader saying that any agreement with the Obama administration could be undone by a future president—presumably from Sen. Cotton’s party. He also made the preposterous assertion that a US war with Iran would be over in four days!
The disastrous rush to war and manipulation of intelligence in the case of the Iraq war is relevant today. Similar allegations are now being made against Iran, which like Iraq, has allowed UN inspectors in and is a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
Diplomacy with Iran has already achieved what many years of hostility, threats, and sanctions failed to. Iran’s nuclear program has been verifiably curtailed, with its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium—the closest to weapons grade—eliminated. Prospects look hopeful for a long term agreement by June 30.
But there are those in the US Congress, like Sen. Bob Menendez, that advocate returning to the failed policies of sanctions and increased saber rattling if Iran doesn’t completely acquiesce to absolutist demands. Even when India, Pakistan, and North Korea joined the nuclear weapons club, the US didn’t make military threats against them. If used, military action would at best delay, but couldn’t prevent a nuclear Iran.
We commend Sen. Cory Booker, who refrained from co-sponsoring the most recent Iran sanctions resolution; and Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman and Donald Payne who co-signed a House pro-Iran-diplomacy letter. We call on all elected officials to speak out for and actively support a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue. The alternative is another war of mass deception, far more disastrous than the one against Iraq.
Readers wanting more information or to become involved are encouraged to contact the Coalition for Peace Action at peacecoalition.org or 609-924-5022.
The Rev. Robert Moore is Executive Director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action and Co-Pastor of Christ Congregation. Richard Moody is a former fighter pilot with the Royal Navy who also served in the US Navy during the Vietnam era.
Informative video from the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation published May 29, 2015, explaining the Iran nuclear negotiations. It only takes two minutes to watch! Part of the “Two Minute Takes” series.
In weighing Iran nuclear deal, Booker should stand against Menendez, more sanctions on Iran By Kelsey Davenport, The Star Ledger May 30, 2015
Congress got what it wanted, a chance to "weigh-in" on the comprehensive nuclear deal that the United States is negotiating with Iran to block its pathways to nuclear weapons. With President Obama signing the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act last week, lawmakers will now have the opportunity to hold an up-or-down vote after reviewing the deal that negotiators aim to wrap up by June 30.
But with the power of a vote on the deal comes responsibility. Congress now owns a stake in the success or failure of a nuclear agreement. If Congress breaks a good deal by voting to disapprove it, Congress owns the consequences. And those consequences could be dire. (Click here for Full Article)
4/8/15- See Robert Greenwald's (of Brave New Films) new short film on No War With Iran; Wrong About Iraq, Wrong About Iran
From the March 31, 2015 alert to Coalition for Peace Action affiliates:
Click to see an article from The Hill indicating that diplomacy with Iran will continue until late June. Click here for Roger Cohen's excellent, well reasoned op-ed in today's NY Times.
The letter to the editor below was published on March 11, 2015 in the Princeton Packet
An Open Letter to Pennsylvania Senators:
It seems that some 47 U.S. Senators don't quite get the Constitution's separation of powers on foreign policy. What's more, they seem to fear a peaceful deal to prevent nuclear proliferation in Iran, more than they fear an Iran War, which could ensue from a failure to agree to a fair deal.
We commend Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania for restraint in not signing on to the "Tom Cotton Letter", named for the freshman Senator from Arkansas who wrote it. It has basic errors, such as claiming the Senate "ratifies" treaties. Actually, the Executive Branch, the President, ratifies treaties, with Senate advice and consent. Besides, this deal is not a treaty-- just two of a number of basic factual errors.
Unfortunately, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), did sign the Cotton letter, perhaps in haste. We hope he will reconsider.
This letter is only the latest embarrassing attempt to undermine the President in his job as commander-in-chief, in peace as well as war. The Corker-Menendez Bill, "Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015", is a poison pill that would again undermine a deal, by making it seem revocable.
We exhort our Senators to give diplomacy a chance, to read the Iran Framework Agreement when concluded, weigh the alternatives, and support a verifiable, long-term agreement that can keep Iran nuclear-arms-free, and will keep other nations such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt from wanting a bomb of their own.
Ed Aguilar, J.D.
Coalition for Peace Action (PA)
1515 Cherry Street
The writer is director of the Pennsylvania office of the Coalition for Peace Action, with regional headquarters in Princeton, NJ. Previously, he has worked as a lawyer and taught history and law.
Iran Diplomacy Update! March 2015
CFPA has continued to work intensively in support of Diplomacy, Not War in Iran. The multilateral negotiations with Iran look increasingly promising, but are threatened by Congressional opponents whose bills would undermine them.
We just learned from a staffer to Sen. Cory Booker that communications from constituents are counted and taken very seriously. If you haven't yet done so, click here to send quick emails to your Congresspersons.
If you live in NJ Congressional District 12,I also urge you to contact Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, successor to Rep. Rush Holt, for her courageous pro-peace stand of refusing to attend last week's anti-diplomacy talk by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Letter to the Editor by CFPA, Philadelphia Director Ed Aguilar January 29, 2015
ISSUE | IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS
Congress should go easy with sanctions
The Kirk-Menendez bill on Iran sanctions is seriously flawed, and, as Prime Minister David Cameron noted during his visit, such congressional action would undermine the unity of the United States with the allied powers at the Iran nuclear talks. Because it's coming from the British prime minister, a close ally, Congress should pay close attention.
This bill is flawed for both legal and strategic reasons. First, it would violate the painstakingly negotiated Joint Plan of Action by Iran and the allies. Rather than isolating Iran, its passage would isolate and weaken the U.S. position at the upcoming talks. These negotiations are critical to keeping Iran's nuclear program a peaceful one, not a strategic threat to the United States, Israel, and the region. (To view in the Philadelphia Inquirer online, Click Here and scroll to the bottom.)
|Edward A. Aguilar, Pennsylvania director, Coalition for Peace Action, Philadelphia, Peacecoalition.org
Urge US Senators from NJ and PA to
oppose new sanctions and support
diplomacy, not war with Iran.
January 15, 2015
The Obama Administration and its international partners are in the home stretch of negotiations with Iran to resolve concerns over its nuclear ambitions via patient, persistent diplomacy. A framework agreement to ensure Iran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons is within reach over the next few months, and a final deal could be reached by a June deadline.
The US Senators from NJ and PA have previously supported bills to impose new sanctions on Iran. Unless they and others change, this would probably scuttle negotiations and ultimately lead to military action against Iran. That’s right, just what we don’t need, another Middle Eastern war!
An agreement to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully could well have other benefits in improving U.S.-Iranian economic and political relations, including working together more closely to bring badly needed stability to the region, a key shared interest of the U.S. and Iran.
I urge your readers to contact their two US Senators at 202-224-3121 right away urging them to oppose new sanctions and support diplomacy, not war with Iran. For further information, visit peacecoalition.org or call the Coalition for Peace Action at 609-924-5022.
The Rev. Robert Moore
(609) 924-5022 Work
(609) 937-6931 Cell
The writer is Executive Director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action regional office, and Co-Pastor of Christ Congregation, also in Princeton.
The Republicans’ Senate victory offers Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu new hope for outmaneuvering President Barack Obama on Iran; in the coming weeks, he could use a Republican-led Congress to sabotage negotiations with the Islamic Republic on its nuclear program. But the victory would be short lived. By scuttling the talks, Netanyahu could empower Iran’s hardliners.
By now, it is clear that Israel’s current Iran strategy—bluffing war to push the world to ratchet up the economic siege on Iran—is no longer working. “Chickenshit-gate,” revelations that a senior Obama administration official had privately stated that Netanyahu does not have what it takes to take on Iran, leaves little doubt about that. (to read complete article Click Here)
How Congressional hawks plan to kill
Obama's Iran deal
By Trita Parsi October 27, 2014 Analysis & Opinion | The Great Debate Reuters
Negotiations with Iran over the future of its nuclear program have not even concluded yet some members of Congress are preparing to manufacture a political crisis over a deal. Their beef? President Barack Obama may initially bypass Congress and suspend sanctions imposed on Iran to make a deal possible and only later ask lawmakers to end them permanently when it is determined that Iran has complied fully with its obligations under the deal.
Of course, many of the lawmakers complaining about the potential presidential end run voted to give him the right to waive sanctions when they passed sanctions legislation in 2010 and 2011. And, of course, only Congress can lift the sanctions permanently, so there wouldn’t be any circumventing to begin with.
So what’s really going on? (to read complete article Click Here)
As American and Iranian officials meet June 9 in Geneva, a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators, Seyyed Hossein Mousavian, and several physicists at Princeton are proposing a possible solution to the dispute over how many centrifuges Iran can retain under a long-term nuclear agreement.
Their draft proposal, prepared for publication by the magazine Arms Control Today and made available to Al-Monitor, would permit Iran to transition from the rudimentary machines it currently employs to enrich uranium to more-advanced centrifuges over the course of five years. This would reduce the numbers of centrifuges Iran would require to meet the needs of even an expanded civilian reactor program, but it still raises concerns about Iran’s ability to “break out” and produce fuel for nuclear weapons. (to read complete article Click Here)
Policy makers tasked with cutting a deal with Iran over its nuclear program by the November deadline may find a set of useful lessons from the French nuclear-weapons program. Scott Sagan points out that France was largely motivated to pursue the bomb to restore the grandeur it lost during the Second World War. For de Gaulle and his predecessors, the bomb was an important symbol of French independence; after France lost Algeria, it demonstrated that France was still a great power. A similar dynamic may be at play with Iran over its demands concerning the right to engage in the enrichment of uranium.
When it comes to proliferation, many scholars and policy makers have largely ignored the possibility that status, rather than insecurity, is a primary motivation driving the behavior of states seeking to cross the nuclear Rubicon. Status refers to “an attribute of an individual or social role relating to rank.” States that are content with their standing in world politics are unlikely to pose problems for the prevailing international order. The states that pose a challenge are the ones that are dissatisfied over their rank in the international hierarchy. While these states may excel along one or more observable dimensions, from military prowess to economic strength to possessing a geographic sphere of influence, conflict is likely to ensue when the leading international powers refuse to recognize dissatisfied states’ claims to prestige. Conflict can come in the form of crises as well as war. Such conflicts are believed to resolve contests over status. The status dilemma resolves itself with either the leading powers granting a state’s status claims or the contestant backing down. (to read complete article Click Here)
The United States is still striving to complete a comprehensive agreement to curtail Iran’s nuclear program by the Nov. 24 deadline, though “substantial work” remains to be done, a senior State Department official said Wednesday after high-level talks.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, met here for more than six hours with Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, in an effort to advance the lagging negotiations on an accord that would trade significant constraints on Iran’s nuclear activities for a lifting of onerous economic sanctions. (to read complete article Click Here)
Click here to watch a video of Zia Mian, Director of Princeton University's Project on Peace and Security in South Asia, talk about Iran’s nuclear program and the challenges of keeping nuclear materials and stockpiles secure from terrorist groups on C-SPAN/Washington Journal.
Iran Responds to Flexibility, Not Pressure
The U.S. Could Be Less Likely to Uphold a Final Deal Than Iran
Nuclear Talks Aren’t About Trust, But Verification
A Final Nuclear Deal Can Be Struck Within Six Months
The National Iranian American Council, of which CFPA's 2012 Membership Dinner Dr. Trita Parsi is president, issued the following June 16, 2013 Statement regarding the election of Hassan Rouhani to be the next President of Iran:
The election of Hassan Rouhani to be the next President of Iran signals a potential opening for progress on human rights inside Iran as well as nuclear diplomacy. The lone moderate in the race, Rouhani has criticized the securitized environment in Iran and indicated he will work for the release of prisoners of conscience detained after the 2009 elections, including the leaders of the Green Movement, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been under house arrest since 2011. Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator under former reformist President Khatami, has also called for a more constructive approach to nuclear diplomacy, sharply criticizing the confrontational approach Iran has adopted under President Ahmadinejad and the current nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili.
While Supreme Leader Khamenei is expected to have the final word on major policy decisions, and conservatives are likely to retain control of many key aspects of Iran's political system, reformists appear to have the backing of the Iranian people and as a result can still prevail in achieving many of their political goals. Many have doubted that the Supreme Leader and his allies would allow a reformist or moderate to win election given the outcome of 2009. If the election of Rouhani stands, the Western narrative stating that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the IRGC are all-powerful needs to be revisited. It would also signal that the underlying forces of discontent with the direction of the country, repression, and mismanagement that surfaced with the Green Movement in 2009 are still intact as they manifested again with the election of Rouhani.
Rouhani is likely to try to deliver on many of his campaign promises, including to relax the securitized political atmosphere and to take a more constructive approach to nuclear negotiations. But the reaction of the United States and the West could make or break Rouhani and the reformists' ability to push for change in Iran. Particularly, if the Obama administration and Congress persist in amplifying economic sanctions on Iran, it could undermine prospects of a deal before Rouhani is even inaugurated. Now is the time to give forces for moderation in Iran space and put major sanctions relief, including for Iran's oil and financial sectors, on the table.
The Iranians missed a major opportunity in 2009 when they assumed that President Barack Obama would be no different from previous US leaders and then acted according to that assumption. Tehran's non-responsiveness rendered Obama's job to change the relationship more difficult. Washington should be careful not to commit that same mistake.
Vali Nasr: "Rowhani's election should give Congress pause in further intensifying sanctions. Washington need not lift any sanctions yet, but simply being willing to discuss the possibility in exchange for Iranian concessions would be a sea change in the nuclear negotiations. Failing that, nothing will change in the nuclear impasse and the reformist moment could just be that. The ball is in Washington's court."
Paul Pillar: "The Iranian electorate has in effect said to the United States and its Western partners, "We've done all we can. Among the options that the Guardian Council gave us, we have chosen the one that offers to get us closest to accommodation, agreement and understanding with the West. Your move, America."
Trita Parsi: "The Iranians missed a major opportunity in 2009 when they assumed that President Obama would be no different from previous US leaders and then acted according to that assumption. Tehran's non-responsiveness rendered Obama's job to change the relationship more difficult. Washington should be careful not to commit that mistake."
Mark Fitzpatrick: "In October 2003, (Rouhani) agreed to a partial suspension of the enrichment programme, and a year later, to a greater halt. To domestic audiences, he bragged at the time and again in this year's campaign interviews that the suspension was only a tactical ploy to enable the nuclear programme to advance in other ways. This explanation was partly true, but it was gilding the lily. Any deal has to be viewed as a victory for both sides. A further reason for optimism is to be found in last week's Reuters report that Khamenei had given a guarded OK to a request by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to engage bilaterally with the United States. There has been little evidence of such flexibility toward engagement to date, but Salehi will surely be kept on after Rowhani takes office on 3 August."
President-Elect Hassan Rouhani: "Relations between Iran and the United States are a complicated and difficult issue. It's nothing easy. This is a very old wound that is there, and we need to think about how to heal this injury. We don't want to see more tension. Wisdom tells us both countries need to think more about the future and try to sit down and find solutions to past issues and rectify things... [Talks] should be based on mutual respect and interests, and should be [held] on equal footing... The Americans must expressly state that they will never interfere in Iran's domestic affairs. Secondly, all rights of the nation need to be recognized by the Americans... Unilateral bullying policies need to be scrapped... [If these conditions are met] the ground will be paved for settlement... But everyone should realize that the future government will definitely defend the rights of the Iranian people. We will never dispense with that. We are prepared to see tensions alleviated. If we see goodwill we can also take some confidence building measures..."
"We have to enhance mutual trust between Iran and other countries... There is a fresh opportunity for interaction on the global level."
Secretary of State John Kerry: "President-elect Rouhani pledged repeatedly during his campaign to restore and expand freedoms for all Iranians. In the months ahead, he has the opportunity to keep his promises to the Iranian people. We, along with our international partners, remain ready to engage directly with the Iranian government. We hope they will honor their international obligations to the rest of the world in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program."
White House statement: "We respect the vote of the Iranian people and congratulate them for their participation in the political process, and their courage in making their voices heard. Yesterday's election took place against the backdrop of a lack of transparency, censorship of the media, Internet, and text messages, and an intimidating security environment that limited freedom of expression and assembly. However, despite these government obstacles and limitations, the Iranian people were determined to act to shape their future. It is our hope that the Iranian government will heed the will of the Iranian people and make responsible choices that create a better future for all Iranians. The United States remains ready to engage the Iranian government directly in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program.
Pervasive myths, distortions, and oversimplifications continue to distort perceptions about Iran. To confront these myths, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), together with Just Foreign Policy, has launched Iranfact.org, a site devoted to fact-checking these myths and promoting honest and accurate debate about Iran policy in the U.S.
Myth #1: Iran has fissile material for five nuclear weapons
At the Vice Presidential debate, Congressman Paul Ryan said, “When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material, nuclear material, to make one bomb. Now they have enough to make five.’ However, Iran does not have any fissile nuclear material that could be used in a nuclear weapon. Iran has quantities of low and medium-enriched uranium, but does not possess weapons-grade uranium, which would be required to build a nuclear weapon.
Myth #2: The U.S. and Israel believe Iran is developing nuclear weapons
The United States intelligence community says Iran has not made the decision to develop a nuclear weapon. Instead, the U.S. intelligence community is concerned that Iran is engaged in a strategy of nuclear hedging developing the capabilities that would be necessary to build a nuclear weapon if such a political decision were made. According to multiple credible media reports, Israeli intelligence agencies agree with the U.S. intelligence community that Iran has not decided to develop nuclear weapons.
Myth #3: An Iranian nuclear weapon is imminent
An Iranian nuclear weapon is not imminent. U.S. and Israeli intelligence assess that Iran is not actively building a bomb, and that it would take Iran at least two to three years to have a deliverable weapon.
Myth #4: Israel and the U.S. consider Iran irrational.
Top Israeli and U.S. officials agree Iran is a rational actor. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently told CNN, We are of the opinion that the Iranian regime is a rational actor. Senior Israeli officials, such as Meir Dagan, the former chief of Israel’s Mossad, have made similarly unambiguous statements. The regime in Iran is a very rational regime, Dagan told CBS News in March.
Myth #5: Israel considers Iran an existential threat
While many media outlets and politicians often state that Iran is an existential threat to Israel, many senior Israeli defense officials argue this simply isn’t true. Prominent Israeli defense and intelligence officials have stated that Iran poses some threat to Israel, but that it is not an existential threat.
About NIAC: The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community.
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