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No War in Iran





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.
PA Director

Coalition for Peace Action (PA)
1515 Cherry Street

Philadelphia, PA 19102
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   

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.

Read the March 8 NY Times editorial summarizing the situation and the excellent op-ed by Roger Cohen in the same edition.

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.


The Philadelphia Inquirer, Letter to the Editor by CFPA, Philadelphia Director Ed Aguilar January 29, 2015


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

Dear Editor:  

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.

Act of Congress
Israel, Iran, and the Republican Victory
By Trita Parsi in November 5, 2014 Foreign Affairs

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)

Princeton Experts Propose Possible Solution on Iran Centrifuges


By Barbara Slavin June 9, 2014 Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

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)

Nuclear Negotiations: Iran's Quest for Status
By Albert B. Wolf October 7, 2014 The National Interest

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)

‘Substantial Work’ Said to Remain in Iran Nuclear Talks

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.

Click here to see an article in the September 26 online publication National Security Network, about the optimism of U.S. and Iranian stakeholders about Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Possibilities for Progress.
Negotiations between the P5+1 nations and Iran over Iran’s nuclear enrichment program resumed last week in New York ahead of the U.N. General Assembly, and in their addresses this week, both President Barack Obama and President Hassan Rouhani spoke with cautious optimism about the prospects of a deal. Some reports have suggested that diplomats are exploring new compromises to try to reach an agreement in advance of the November expiration of the Joint Plan of Action. The talks are now entering a critical stage, and policymakers will have to be careful of potential obstacles to a deal, including an overemphasis on Iran’s previous nuclear weapons development, congressional interference, and conflating counterterrorism issues with the nuclear negotiations.


Click here to see the excellent lead editorial Keep Negotiating on Iran's Nukes in the July 17 New York Times 

Below is the update I received on July 17 from Dr. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).  

As talks in Vienna run into complications and an extension may become necessary, and while detractors in Washington, Tehran, Tel Aviv and Riyadh may use this as an opportunity to scuttle the talks, we must carefully study what the failure of diplomacy would bring about.  

Failure to reach a nuclear deal with Iran will not lead to a continuation of the current status quo, but rather a deterioration of the situation with severe military, economic and security consequences. This is the conclusion of a new NIAC Policy Memo published today analyzing the consequences of a diplomatic failure between the U.S. and Iran.

Clarity about the consequences of failing to reach a deal must exist in order not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Rather than adhering to the mantra of ‘No deal is better than a bad deal,’ the inverse relationship must be considered: A good nuclear deal is better than war.

Link to Press Release:  http://www.niacouncil.org/policy-memo-good-deal-better-deal/
Link to Full report (PDF):  http://www.niacouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/NIAC-Deal-NoDeal-Final.pdf

Trita Parsi, PhD      

Extremely UrgentI just received the Alert below from our colleagues at Council for a Liveable World. Please click the link below immediately to email your two Senators. It only took me a minute!  

This week, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are circulating a letter that imposes stringent requirements for a final nuclear deal with Iran. By insisting on these unrealistic conditions, the Senators effectively tie the diplomats’ hands and make it less likely that the diplomatic approach will succeed. Please write your Senators TODAY and urge them not to add their names to this letter.  


Remember, it was the Obama administration’s measured and pragmatic approach to diplomacy that secured a landmark interim agreement last fall, which froze Iran’s nuclear program in place for six months. And remember that negotiators are working around the clock as we speak in Vienna, Austria, to find a way to turn that freeze into a more long-term arrangement.  


This is precisely the wrong time for Congress to be making the negotiations more difficult.  


According to a new poll, more than 60% of Americans favor making a nuclear deal with Iran, as opposed to the alternative of ramping up pressure in pursuit of unrealistic demands.  


If you’re part of that 60%, your Senators need to hear from you TODAY. The deadline for Senators to sign this letter is TOMORROW (Wednesday). Make sure your Senators hear from you TODAY – click here to e-mail them!




 Below is the Alert I sent out on July 14. If you can also call, please do so!


 As we approach the crucial July 20 initial deadline for negotiating an agreement on the Iran nuclear program, I want to share the excellent op-ed Five Myths About Iran's Nuclear Program in the July 10 Boston Globe.  


At a time like this, with the negotiations in their crucial "end game" it can be tempting to look at the situation as "inside baseball" in which we average citizens can't do much. But a major drag on the US negotiations continues to be the US Congress.  


There are two actions I urge you to take:  


Ask House of Representatives members to support H.R. 783 – the bipartisan “Prevent Iran Nuclear Weapons, and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act”introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), which would prohibit a pre-emptive attack on Iran, without Congressional authorization.  This Bill could prevent a war – Call toll-free, (855)-686-6927, and just ask for your Congress member by name – they will connect you to the office.   


Ask your members of the US Senate to oppose the Mendendez-Graham letter that hamstrings the Administratinon's ability to offer the critical "carrot" to move negotiations toward a successful conclusion: eventual lifting of sanctions if Iran verifiably refrains from nuclear weapons.  


Reach your two US Senators via the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-2131, or click here and use the pulldown menu on top right to select your state and learn their names and direct numbers.



The Rev. Robert Moore

Executive Director
Coalition for Peace Action
40 Witherspoon St.
Princeton, NJ 08542
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
(609) 924-5022 phone 

Click link to see an excellent op-ed by Harvard scholar Ariane Tabatabai, Five Myths About Iran's Nuclear Program from the July 10, 2014 Boston Globe.
The article below (from the April 21 edition of the important Capitol Hill publication, Roll Call) is a testimony to the results from committed, sustained diplomacy. Thanks to all who have supported CFPA's Diplomacy, Not War with Iran Campaign, and stay tuned for next steps--we still have a ways to go!  
Lessons Learned From Successful Iran Diplomacy

 By Ryan Costello

Despite warnings that the first-step nuclear deal with Iran is a “historic mistake,” it is safe to say that the sky is not falling. In fact, at the halfway mark of the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action, it is clear that Iran is upholding its commitments — and is actually ahead of schedule in eliminating its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium.

Progress toward a final deal also continues. On May 13 in Vienna, political directors from Iran and the members of the United Nations Security Council will meet for a possible seven- to 10-day marathon session where they will begin drafting the text of a final agreement. And despite the relative quiet surrounding the talks, it appears that the sides are finding common ground on some of the most difficult issues.

For example, recent reports indicate that Iran has proposed altering the design of the Arak heavy water reactor to greatly reduce its potential plutonium output, a major potential concession. Former Gen. David Petraeus now even puts the odds of striking a deal above 50 percent, potentially within three months from now.

With all of this positive momentum toward a final deal, the skeptics’ continued warnings and calls for ever-increasing pressure look increasingly out of place. As a result, it is worth reevaluating the cynicism surrounding the negotiations and putting forward new conclusions based upon the diplomatic track record.

Iran Responds to Flexibility, Not Pressure 

The threat of increasing sanctions, backed by a threat of military action, has been a constant over the past decade. Therefore, assuming that Iran finally gave in to the pressure is a somewhat dubious assertion. However, the diplomatic equation has changed recently in several significant ways, including a political opening in Iran following the election of President Hassan Rouhani, a pause on new unilateral U.S. sanctions that provided space for negotiations and newfound negotiating flexibility from the Obama administration.

This latter point deserves additional consideration. The Obama administration made two key concessions in the JPOA that were far more significant than the limited, reversible and largely symbolic sanctions relief that has been provided.

First, the Obama administration abandoned the unrealistic and unattainable “zero enrichment” demand by agreeing that Iran would be able to maintain a “mutually defined enrichment program,” upon the conclusion of the diplomatic process.

Second, it agreed that a final nuclear deal would result in the lifting of all UN, multilateral and national “nuclear-related sanctions.” With a concrete view of an acceptable end game, Iran was able to agree to significant concessions in the JPOA — such as eliminating its 20 percent enrichment. This newfound flexibility was likely far more responsible for diplomatic progress than finding the appropriate level of economic punishment. As a result, calls for additional pressure should be ignored.

The U.S. Could Be Less Likely to Uphold a Final Deal Than Iran 

The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed in monthly reports and recent statements that Iran is implementing the terms it agreed upon in the JPOA — all despite the failure of Iran hawks to pass new sanctions.

This has left opponents of diplomacy grasping for straws. A rumored oil-for-goods deal between Russia and Iran would not be an Iranian violation of the nuclear deal, as some have claimed, because Iran is under no obligation to self-enforce unilateral U.S. sanctions.

While complications could still arise in implementation, there are strong consequences if Iran violates the agreement: The potential failure of diplomacy, the likelihood of increasing economic pressure and renewed consideration of military action.

Further, recent complications in ensuring that Iran receives unfrozen oil revenues under the JPOA foreshadows the much more difficult challenge of lifting sanctions in a final agreement. While the president maintains limited waiver authorities, he does not have the power to lift sanctions unilaterally. That authority rests with Congress, which to date has been more interested in piling on sanctions than removing them. As the JPOA indicates that all nuclear-related sanctions will be lifted in a final deal, there are serious questions as to whether Congress and the administration can work in concert to uphold America’s end of the bargain.

Nuclear Talks Aren’t About Trust, But Verification 

Ignore all of the complaints about how we can’t trust Iran. With limitations to Iran’s nuclear capabilities and intrusive inspections, we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes — or detect any Iranian move to break out with sufficient time to respond. If you distrust Iran, you should be for the stringent inspections provided under the JPOA and the expansion of authorities for international inspectors in any final deal. After all, no Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty state under this level of IAEA inspection has ever clandestinely broken out and obtained a nuclear weapon.

Further, Iran’s recent diplomacy reflects the polar opposite of a state pursuing nuclear weapons. By inviting inspectors in and agreeing to limitations on its nuclear program, Iran is drastically reducing the chances of a successful breakout. A comprehensive deal would only diminish those chances further.

A Final Nuclear Deal Can Be Struck Within Six Months 

There have been numerous distractions over the past three months, including Iran nominating a UN ambassador that served as a translator during the Iran hostage crisis — a formative event for many Americans’ negative perceptions of Iran — and the United States then rejecting that nomination in an apparent violation of international law.

However, these distractions have not yet derailed the negotiating process or diverted the parties from their main goal of striking a nuclear deal. This is likely because all parties know that they have never been this close to reaching agreement. If each side stays on track, there is every reason to believe that an agreeable solution can be struck before the July 20 deadline of the JPOA.

There is, of course, a possibility that the JPOA will need to be extended in three months. While the national security benefits of doing so are clear, an extension would open up an opportunity for opponents on each side to attack the deal and push forward poison pills — such as new U.S. sanctions or restrictions on sanctions relief. Rather than exert additional political capital on fighting domestic opponents yet again, the United States and Iran would be wise to preserve that capital for upholding a deal by reaching agreement by July 20, if possible.

Ryan Costello is a policy fellow with the National Iranian American Council.  

A bill to increase sanctions on Iran was introduced in the US Senate on 12/20/13, click here for overview of the bill to increase sanctions, including updated list of co-sponsors. The good news is that as of February 7, 2014, after an intense campaign by CFPA and allies, it was shelved!

The Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) is strongly opposed this bill for the reasons cited in letter and resources below.
See Iran: A Good Deal Now in Danger by Jessica Mathews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the February 20 edition of the New York Review of Books 
See February 2, 2014 article in the National Journal on How Obama Won the War on Iran Sanctions, which also credits strong organizing by pro-diplomacy peace groups like CFPA with helping turn the tide.
Click here to see excellent New York Times Op-ed on January 28, 2014 by US Senators Carl Levin and Angus King against the bill.
Click here to see article from January 28 Times of Israel on AP Poll showing 60% of Americans support diplomacy with Iran.
Click following to see January 17 story on Rachel Maddow show on MS-NBC Support for New Sanctions Wanes
Click here and go to page S320 to see excellent speech by Sen. Diane Feinstein, Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee, giving detailed reasons for opposing.
Click here to see January 14 New York Times editorial opposing the sanctions bill 
Click here to see 1/6/14 Letter to bill co-sponsors from nine top foreign policy leaders and ambassadors, urging them to not seek a vote.
Click here to see excellent critique of the bill by our colleagues at National Iranian American Council (NIAC).
Click here to see excellent, in-depth critique by our colleagues at the Arms Control Association.  
Click here to see Peter Beinart's January 6 article on ending the "Cold War" with Iran. Click here to see Prof. Hillary Mann Leverett's talk on a similar topic at CFPA's Nov. 10, 2013 Conference on Diplomacy, Not War with Iran
Click here to see CNN article by Dr. Trita Parsi and Reza Marashi of NIAC challenging sanctions as a "successful" strategy.
Click here to see Alert that can send emails to your US Senators Opposing the Bill.
Sign-on Letter to Senators from NJ and PA from grasstops leaders in their states*

*Current co-signers updated regularly at bottom

Dear Senator (Menendez/Booker/Casey/Toomey):  

As we begin the New Year, we write to ask your support for continued vigorous diplomacy with Iran to achieve a peace in the U.S. security interest, and one that is durable and fair.  

We support the positive steps that have broken the deadlock in diplomacy with Iran, and produced the Phase I Agreement in November, 2013.  We applaud the fact that efforts by the US State Department with Iran have led to a freeze on Iran’s expansion of its enrichment capacity and on construction of the Arak reactor, and to greater transparency—which can go further in a Final Agreement in six months.  We note that the new restraints include the use or dilution of 20% uranium to 5%, which is much below weapon grade. We are also pleased that Iran has accepted unprecedented levels of daily inspection.  

Congress has not been helpful to date.  While the Cantor bill in the House has been defeated, a victory for diplomacy, the Menendez-Kirk-Schumer bill in the Senate would, if passed, potentially undermine diplomacy.  

The bill calls for “a complete end to Iranian uranium enrichment”. This sounds good, except that the Iranian government has made clear it is non-negotiable and will cause their withdrawal from negotiations.  The U.S. negotiators succeeded in the Phase I agreement in stopping Iranian production of 20% enriched uranium (a real victory); but tacitly accepted that Iran can enrich up to 5%, the level used in nuclear power reactors. To forego all enrichment is viewed by the Iran side as being forced to accept 3rd-class status, below Brazil, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands, which enrich uranium as NPT non-nuclear-weapon states.  

We agree that the spread of enrichment capabilities is dangerous but believe that it is impossible to impose discriminatory rules on a major country like Iran in the modern world. Far better would be to craft a new regime in which all enrichment plants are under multinational control. We note in this connection that the only enrichment operating in the United States today is, in fact, under multinational (German-Dutch-UK) control. Iran has in the past expressed its willingness to be the first in line to join such a regime.  

Senator, as an elected leader for the people of our state, we ask that you not co-sponsor the Menendez-Kirk-Schumer bill, but rather prevail upon the US Senate to give diplomacy a chance.  Secretary Kerry, EU Minister Catherine Ashton, the other members of the P5+1 and the Iranian Foreign Minister are within months of a possible final agreement, which we fear this bill would likely derail.  Why derail a final agreement that could bring us much closer to real peace in the Middle East?  

Success in diplomacy with Iran could bring more real peace for Israel and others in the Middle East, including the end of Iran’s supplying of weapons to Hezbollah.  Further, improved Iran relations can help the US, the UN, and Russia to succeed in bringing about a settlement in the difficult negotiations on bringing a political solution in Syria, which has seen countless civilians suffer, and thousands die.  Stating direct military, diplomatic and economic support for Israel in the case of a unilateral Israeli  strike on  Iran, is in direct opposition to our own administration's goals and efforts thus far in this historic diplomatic process with Iran and needlessly endangers Americans, Israelis, Iranians and others in the region.  If we let these talks fail, we will fail to seize a historic opportunity provided by the election of the current Iranian political leadership.   

Only one thing is clear—if the bill passes, it will make a diplomatic solution to the issues of Iran’s nuclear program, of Hezbollah, etc., nearly impossible.  The likely result would be a war with Iran, and a worsening of any chance for regional peace and stability. Those responsible for blocking moves for diplomacy, peace, and stability, will be blamed by our allies and others in the international community.  

We have been told that the Menendez-Kirk-Schumer bill simply would “keep up the pressure on Iran”, and thereby help the talks succeed.  This bill, if passed as originally written, however, would do something else. Most importantly, it would require “A complete end to Iranian uranium enrichment” which we believe is non-negotiable.  Thus Congressional action would tie the hands of the President’s ability to negotiate, his major initiating power under the Constitution. The President has said he would veto such a bill—as he should because it would undermine U.S. credibility with both the P5+1, and Iran, as well as others we negotiate with in the future.  

We appeal to you to safeguard our Constitutional order, and to support diplomacy with Iran. Our representatives should recognize that, in this case, limiting the powers of the President to negotiate is not in the interest of the Congress, the people, or the peace and security of the United States.


*Organizations for Identification Only

Mustafa Abdi, Director, Muslims for Peace

Ed Aguilar, Project Director, Coalition for Peace Action PA Office, Philadelphia

Judith Arnold, Board President, NJ Peace Action

Linda D. Bauman, Manager, Fellowship in Prayer, Princeton, NJ

Edith Bell, Chair, Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, Pittsburgh

Litsa Binder, Chair, Church and Society Committee, Sparta United Methodist Church

Jessica Camacho, Political Action Coordinator, NJ Peace Action

The Rev. Elizabeth B. Congdon, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Trenton

Bill Deckhart, Co-Coordinator, Buxmont Coalition for Peace Action

Joan Diefenbach, Director, NJ Council of Churches

Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study

Cherie Eichholz, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Philadelphia

Monsignor R. Vincent Gartland, Pastor, Church of St. Ann, Lawrenceville, NJ

David Gibson, Organizing Director, Peacehome Campaigns

Irene Etkin Goldman, Chair, Coalition for Peace Action

Evelyn Haas, Executive Committee Member, NE Philly for Peace and Justice

Madelyn Hoffman, Executive Director, NJ Peace Action

Stanley Katz, Professor, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Mary Day Kent, President, United Nations Association-Greater Philadelphia

Cathy Leary, Co-Coordinator, Buxmont Coalition for Peace Action, Bucks County, PA

Peter Lems, Program Office, American Friends Service Committee, Philadelphia

Diane McMahon, Managing Director, Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh 

The Rev. Isaac Miller, Pastor Emeritus, Church of the Advocate, Philadelphia

The Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director, Coalition for Peace Action Regional Office

Tammy Murphy, LL.M., Director, Project for Nuclear Awareness, Philadelphia

Kathy O'Leary, Pax Christi NJ

Lisa Parker, Co-Founder and Coordinator, Peace Day Philly

The Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash, Pastor, Princeton United Methodist Church

Jo Schlesinger, Western PA Coordinator, Coalition for Peace Action

Maziar Shirazi, MD, Iranian-American Professor at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Barbara Simmons, Director, Peace Center, Langhorne, PA

Rabbi Amy Joy Small, Deborah's Palm Center for Jewish Learning and Experiences, NJ

Robert M. Smith, staff/co-founder, Brandywine Peace Community

Dr. Walter Tsou, Chair, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Philadelphia Chapter

John Vincent, President, Princeton-Trenton Area Chapter, United Nations Association-USA

Frank von Hippel, Physicist and Professor Emeritus of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University; former Assistant Director, White House Science Advisor’s Office;  Co-Chair International Panel on Fissile Materials 

Keith Voos, Clerk, New Brunswick Friends Meeting

Scilla Wahrhaftig, Program Director, American Friends Service Committee PA Program 

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center

We encourage letters to the editor like the one below to be sent by supporters to one or more newspapers in your state. Click here and select your state to submit on line. Click here for more information to consider including in your letter, but remember that most newspapers have a 200 word limit!  

New sanctions measure undermines peace effort
Letter to the editor published in Trenton Times, Bergen Record, and Herald News 

 The nuclear deal brokered by the United States and Iran in Geneva is historic. Just as the agreement to peacefully disarm Syria of its chemical weapons demonstrated, diplomacy prevents war and makes the world a safer place.  

 Yet, on Dec. 20, just as this season of peace began, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was a primary sponsor of, and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania co-sponsored a bill to increase sanctions on Iran. This shows bad faith and violates the terms of the interim agreement with Iran.  

 As former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft have pointed out, "Additional sanctions now against Iran ... will risk undermining or even shutting down the negotiations." Sabotaging diplomacy would jeopardize the unprecedented progress our diplomats have achieved to guard against yet another war and nuclear-armed nation.  

 I encourage your readers to call on the above senators to "give diplomacy a chance." They can all be reached via the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121.  

 The Rev. Robert Moore, Princeton  

The writer is the executive director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, and Pastor of East Brunswick Congregational Church.



Letter to the Editor in Praise of Diplomatic Breakthrough with Iran 

Dear Editor,

The historic agreement with Iran on its nuclear program demonstrates again that sustained diplomacy, not war, solves the most vexing problems of global peace.

As with Syria, diplomacy is solving our concerns about weapons of mass destruction with Iran.  We want to see Iran step back from the possibility of obtaining nuclear weapons, while the U.S. and others ease sanctions that unfairly affect average Iranians.

This deal is supported by most of the world community, is in the best interest of the U.S., and builds the momentum of using diplomacy to successfully reduce and eliminate chemical and nuclear weapons.  

There is real power in diplomacy solving disputes. In September, we were on the verge of the US getting into yet another Middle East war, which would have, at best, destroyed only a small fraction of Syria’s chemical weapons. Turning to diplomacy resulted in a verifiable agreement to completely eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal! 

As diplomacy is working with Iran, we need to sustain and strengthen citizen support for continuing diplomacy.  Readers who want to support the Coalition for Peace Action’s Campaign for Diplomacy, Not War with Iran can visit peacecoalition.org or call (609) 924-5022.


The Rev. Robert Moore
(609) 924-5022 Office
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The writer, who lives and works in Princeton, is Executive Director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, the largest peace group in the region with over 7,700 member and supporting households in 23 chapters. 

Recent Developments:

 New Hope for Peace with the Election of Hassan Rouhani!

Click Here to read the NY Times Editorial "A Promising Moment in Iran" 

"How to End the Stalemate with Iran," NY Times Editorial by Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian (confirmed speaker for 2013 Conference) and Mohammed Ali Shabani

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.


What Experts Are Saying

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."


What Iran and the U.S. are Saying

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.


 What You Can Do:  

  • Write a letter to the editor in your local newspaper calling for diplomacy, not war, in Iran.

  • Distribute CFPA's fact sheet among your contacts.

  • Strengthen CFPA's No War in Iran campaign by making a special donation. Click here and use the third option to make a tax-deductible donation online, or mail a check payable to the Peace Action Education Fund (PAEF) to the Coalition for Peace Action office, 40 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ 08542


CFPA Campaign Timeline


  • Ongoing: CFPA members and supporters pressure elected officials to support legislation calling for diplomacy, not war, in Iran.

  • June, 2012: CFPA hosts a discussion on negotations with Iran at Infini-T in Princeton.

  • June, 2012: CFPA holds a second Vigil for Diplomacy Not War in Iran in Palmer Square in Princeton to show support for negotiations.

  • June, 2012: CFPA's 31st Annual Membership Dinner features a keynote by Dr. Trita Parsi, an expert on diplomacy with Iran. Click Here for photos and a video of Dr. Parsi's talk.

  • March, 2012: CFPA holds a Vigil for Diplomacy Not War in Iran in Palmer Square in Princeton

  • March, 2012: CFPA holds its second annual Membership Renewal Party featuring expert speakers on Iran.

  • March, 2012: CFPA co-sponsors Can Diplomacy Prevent War With Iran? Resolving the Nuclear Crisis with Ambassador Mousavian and Dr. Zia Mian at Princeton University.

  • March, 2012: CFPA's Buxmont chapters hold a Say No to War with Iran Vigil in Morrisville.

  • February, 2010: CFPA lobbies in DC against a war on Iran.


Myths about Iran
excerpts from National Iranian American Council

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.
For more information, visit www.niacouncil.org