Letter to House Members on Iran
The following 23 national organizations urge your boss to join 64 members of Congress in signing on to the bipartisan Dent-Price letter on renewed diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program (see attached letter). The Dent-Price letter calls on President Obama to “pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran's recent presidential election by reinvigorating U.S. efforts to secure a negotiated nuclear agreement.”
The text of the letter is below, and the deadline is COB Wed. To sign on, you can contact George McElwee with Rep. Dent (5-6411) or Asher Hildebrand with Rep. Price (5-1784).
Many thanks for your consideration.
Americans for Peace Now
Center for International Policy
Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness
Come Home America
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Council for a Livable World
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Just Foreign Policy
National Iranian American Council
Peace Action West
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Project on Middle East Democracy
Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence
Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Veterans for Peace
Win Without War
Dear President Obama:
As Members of Congress who share your unequivocal commitment to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, we urge you to pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran's recent presidential election by reinvigorating U.S. efforts to secure a negotiated nuclear agreement.
As you know, on June 14 the Iranian people elected Hassan Rouhani president with over 50 percent of the vote in the first round, overcoming repression and intimidation by the Iranian government to cast their ballots in favor of reform. Dr. Rouhani campaigned on the promise to “pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace” and has since promised “constructive interaction with the outside world.” As Iran’s former lead nuclear negotiator, he has also publicly expressed the view that obtaining a nuclear weapon would run counter to Iran’s strategic interests and has been critical of the nuclear “extremism” of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
We are mindful of the limitations of the Iranian presidency within the country’s political system, of the fact that previous Iranian presidents elected on platforms of moderation have failed to deliver on promised reforms, and of the mixed signals that Dr. Rouhani himself has sent regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It remains to be seen whether his election will indeed bring significant change with regard to Iran's relations with the outside world. His government’s actions will certainly speak louder than his words.
Even so, we believe it would be a mistake not to test whether Dr. Rouhani’s election represents a real opportunity for progress toward a verifiable, enforceable agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that ensures the country does not acquire a nuclear weapon. In order to test this proposition, it will be prudent for the United States to utilize all diplomatic tools to reinvigorate ongoing nuclear talks. In addition, bilateral and multilateral sanctions must be calibrated in such a way that they induce significant and verifiable concessions from Iran at the negotiating table in exchange for their potential relaxation.
We must also be careful not to preempt this potential opportunity by engaging in actions that delegitimize the newly elected president and weaken his standing relative to hardliners within the regime who oppose his professed “policy of reconciliation and peace.” Likewise, it will be critical for the United States to continue its efforts to foster unprecedented international cooperation on this issue so that the international community remains united in its opposition to Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon.
We look forward to working with your administration on this important issue in the months ahead.
Rep. David Price (NC)
Rep. Charlie Dent (PA)