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Background: The Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War through Diplomacy Act (H.R.4173)

On March 8, 2012, Rep. Barbara Lee introduced new legislation to support direct Iran negotiations, lift the "no contact policy," and prohibit funding for war with Iran.

On March 8, 2012, Rep. Barbara Lee and nine of her colleagues in the House introduced H.R.4173 - The Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War through Diplomacy Act.

WHAT DOES H.R.4173 DO?

  1. Supports sustained, direct negotiations with Iran by establishing a U.S. diplomatic envoy to lead talks
  2. Lifts the “no contact policy” that blocks U.S. diplomats from communicating with Iranian counterparts
  3. Prohibits funding for war against Iran without Congressional authorization

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

To prevent war, resolve the nuclear standoff, and effectively address human rights, we must eliminate obstacles to a diplomatic breakthrough 

  • Under the current “no contact policy,” U.S. officials are barred from any contact with Iranian officials unless they obtain explicit permission from the Secretary of State.  

There have only been two bilateral meetings between the U.S. and Iran since Obama took office

  • Those meetings never moved beyond the nuclear file to other critical areas like human rights.  To successfully resolve the standoff, diplomacy will need to be persistent, direct and sustained.  A U.S. envoy to direct such efforts can ensure we effectively uses all diplomatic tools at its disposal to achieve a solution.

Diplomacy is the only solution for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran

  • Former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair testified to Congress that “only an Iranian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective would plausibly keep Iran from eventually producing nuclear weapons.”

 Iranian human rights and democracy defenders have warned that war threats undermine their cause

  • Akbar Ganji: "Even speaking about the possibility of a military attack on Iran makes things extremely difficult for human rights and pro-democracy activists in Iran."
  • Shirin Ebadi: “Dictators actually like to be attacked by foreigners,” Ebadi said yesterday, “so using excuse of national security, they can put away their opposition.”

 Military leaders agree: Iran war would be disastrous, a diplomatic solution is needed

  • Former CENTCOM Commander Admiral Fallon: “No one that I'm aware of [in the military] thinks that there's any real positive outcome of a military strike or some kind of conflict.”
  • Former JCS Vice Chair General Cartwright: “You want to try to make sure and work hard to have an official channel that is really open for dialogue, so that the ambiguity at least can be addressed.”
  • Gen. Michael Haden (ret.), CIA Director under Bush: “When we talked about this in the government, the consensus was that [attacking Iran] would guarantee that which we are trying to prevent -- an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon and that would build it in secret.”
  • Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates: "A military strike would only delay Iran’s nuclear program, while the regime’s resolve to build a weapon, if it so chooses, may only be hardened."
  • Former JCS Chairman Admiral Mullen: “We haven’t had a connection with Iran since 1979. Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union. We are not talking to Iran, so we don’t understand each other. If something happens, it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right 

 The American public supports diplomacy with Iran, not military strikes

  • 81% of Americans support direct U.S.-Iran talks to resolve the nuclear standoff (WaPo/ABC poll 3/10/12).
  • Only 24% of Americans support “a military strike,” versus 69% who support continued diplomatic efforts (World Public Opinion/PIPA poll 3/13/12).

CURRENT COSPONSORS:

Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9]

Rep Bass, Karen [CA-33]

Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3]

Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14]

Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7]

Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15]

Rep Edwards, Donna F. [MD-4]

Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5]

Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17]

Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51]

Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22]

Rep Holt, Rush [NJ-12]

Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18]

Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3]

Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10]

Rep Lewis, John [GA-5]

Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4]

Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3]

Rep Moran, Jim [VA-8]

Rep Olver, John [MA-01]

Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1]

Rep Rush, Bobby L. [IL-1]

Rep Scott, Bobby [VA-3]

Rep Slaughter, Louise [NY-28]

Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13]

Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2]

Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35]

Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6]

 

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