Letter to Congressional Leadership on Iran
April 5, 2012
Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader Pelosi, Minority Leader McConnell:
We are deeply concerned by the increasing prospects of a disastrous war between the United States and Iran. At a time of dangerously escalating tensions, we urge in the strongest possible terms that any legislation advanced by Congress support a diplomatic resolution to the standoff and make absolutely clear that there is no Congressional authorization for military force against Iran.
Ultimately, America's interests with Iran will only be successfully achieved through a diplomatic solution. We strongly encourage you to advance legislation in support of this goal, such as H.R.4173, the Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act. This legislation would advance diplomacy by lifting the "no contact policy" that bars U.S. diplomats from speaking with their Iranian counterparts. It would also establish a special envoy to lead direct talks with Iran, and would clarify that there is no authorization for war with Iran.
Similarly, we urge you to oppose S.Res.380 and H.Res.568, which greatly hinder the Administration's current diplomatic efforts by contradicting the long established U.S. "redline" of a nuclear-armed Iran, accepted and supported by our nation's military leaders and intelligence community. By introducing the undefined term "nuclear weapons capability," Congress would needlessly open the door to war based on a threshold that experts say could apply to numerous countries ranging from Brazil to Japan. This is a dangerous and irresponsible standard upon which to base the decision for military force and, if adopted as U.S. policy, would make a war of choice far more likely while obstructing a diplomatic, inspections-based solution.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently declared that a war of choice with Iran would be a "catastrophe." Military and civilian leaders have unanimously echoed this assessment and warned that a military attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran more likely. Economists have warned that war with Iran would impose tremendous burdens on the fragile global economy, dramatically spike gas prices, and cost an untold number of jobs here at home. Members of Iranian civil society have warned that war, and even the threat of war, would be devastating for human rights and the pro-democracy movement in Iran. The American people expect all diplomatic and peaceful options to be exhausted before any military action against Iran is considered. Our brave servicemen and women deserve nothing less. And all Americans deserve a Congress that will ensure that the United States will never initiate an unauthorized war of choice and will instead utilize every diplomatic means at its disposal to peacefully resolve the standoff with Iran.
3P Human Security
American Friends Service Committee
Americans for Peace Now
Center for Interfaith Engagement at Eastern Mennonite University
Center for International Policy
Council for a Livable World
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Holy Name Province Franciscan JPIC Office
Just Foreign Policy
Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness
Muslim Public Affairs Council
National Iranian American Council
New Internationalism Project of the Institute for Policy Studies
Peace Action West
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Progressive Democrats of America
Project on Middle East Democracy
Student Peace Alliance
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions
House Foreign Affairs Committee
Senate Foreign Affairs Committee