June 8, 2009

UANI undermining Obama with Iran divestment

While the Iranian presidential election is mere days away, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and some in Congress have made a renewed push for H.R. 1327, the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act.  This ad, paid for by UANI, will air on cable news networks this week.
As Obama has made it apparent that he desires to open dialogue and have peaceful diplomacy with Iran, UANI and others have sought to push even more economic sanctions on the country. Beginning Tuesday morning, UANI will place a television advertisement on major cable stations entitled “Unclenched fist” depicting Iran as the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world, urging people to both support sanctions against the country and to urge leaders to prohibit Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The measure they and other Iran hawks are promoting this week is H.R. 1327, which authorizes state and local governments to divest from Iran.  Many people fear that if passed, especially prior to the Iranian elections, it will tip the vote in favor of Ahmadinejad, who currently seems to be losing ground in the elections. People are taking to the streets in Tehran, fervently supporting Mir Hossein Moussavi. And after televised national debates between the candidates, Moussavi appears to have the upper hand. Therefore, provocative legislation against Iran such as this before Iranians go to the polls—could actually hurt Moussavi’s increasing momentum.
So, why is it that UANI is pushing for an Iranian divestment bill to pass the same week as the Iranian election? It seems as though the right thing for Americans to do now is allow for the elections to occur peacefully and in their own right, and decide on a course of action after diplomacy has been given sufficient time to succeed. Any move for sanctions or divestment now could be seen as American meddling in the election, which every expert agrees would be disastrous.  In my opinion, UANI should avoid undermining Obama, and give his peaceful diplomatic course a chance.
update: It appears as though rational heads have prevailed, as some on the Financial Services Committee advised leaders to take the bill off the calendar for this week.  Now the American people will have to decide for themselves about UANI’s publicized ads. Will they be swayed to support a new sanctions bill? Or will they place trust in Obama’s attempts at diplomacy?

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