From Jamal Abdi, Policy Director, National Iranian American Council
Congress is planning to vote today to make war with Iran more likely.
This afternoon, the House of Representatives is going to consider H.Res.568 – a resolution that significantly lowers the threshold for war with Iran.
It is no coincidence that this vote is taking place just a week before the U.S. and Iran resume negotiations that many in the pro-war camp want to sabotage.
We need your help today to stop this push for war.
Your Representative needs to hear from you and others who oppose war with Iran before they take this vote.
Please call 1-855-68 NO WAR (1-855-686-6927) to contact your Member of Congress and tell them to stand up against the push for war.
Here is a quick script you can use:
• My name is _______ and I’m calling from [your city]. I’d like to talk to your foreign policy advisor. (Ask to leave a message if they are not available.)
• I am very concerned about the prospect of another war in the Middle East with Iran. I’m asking that you oppose House Resolution 568, because it aims to block diplomacy and make war with Iran inevitable. I ask that you vote no on this resolution when it comes up for a vote today and to demand language stating that there is no authorization for war with Iran. Please have the courage to speak out publicly against the push for war and in support of a diplomatic resolution to resolve the nuclear standoff and other critical issues like human rights in Iran.
• Thank you.
We also have full talking points that you can use below. You can also use your zip code to find your Member of Congress here.
Why Is This Resolution Dangerous?
1. H.Res.568 significantly lowers the threshold for going to war. This resolution effectively calls for a military attack on Iran when Iran when it obtains a “nuclear weapons capability” – an undefined term that, by some interpretations, could already apply to Iran, not to mention Brazil, Japan, the Netherlands, and any country with a civilian nuclear program. We should not stake questions of war and peace on such shaky foundations.
2. H.Res.568 sets conditions for going to war without stating that it is not an authorization for using military force. Given the resolution’s unambiguous statement ruling out containing a nuclear-capable Iran, this resolution could be construed by this President or a future President as an authorization of force for launching military action against Iran that would have devastating consequences. At the absolute minimum, the resolution should clarify that it is not an authorization of force, and does not provide a legal authority for the President to initiate war against Iran.
3. H.Res.568 dangerously confuses U.S. policy. While supporters of the resolution have repeatedly claimed, “President Obama has stated that it’s unacceptable for Iran to obtain a nuclear capability,” this is not true. President Obama has never used the “nuclear capability” phrasing, speaking instead of Iran “getting,” “obtaining” or “acquiring” a nuclear weapon as the U.S. red line. The presence of international nuclear inspectors in Iran and U.S. intelligence gathering operations make it nearly impossible for Iran to build a nuclear weapon undetected. U.S. and Israeli intelligence has been clear: Iran has yet to decide whether to actually build a bomb—our aim must be to use diplomacy to implement the verification measures to guarantee Iran cannot take this step.
4. H.Res.568 undermines diplomacy and takes peaceful options off the table. The U.S. and Iran are scheduled to hold negotiations on May 23, along with the rest of the P5+1 (Permanent 5 Security Council members plus Germany). These talks hold the potential to achieve real progress in curbing Iran’s nuclear program—with Iran’s Supreme Leader for the first time publicly endorsing negotiations and signaling that Iran is prepared to make key concessions to cap its enrichment in accordance with U.S. national security interests. This hawkish bill could undermine those talks by signaling to Iran that the U.S. is committed to war. Diplomacy is the only way to prevent war, prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon, and put mechanisms in place to effectively address human rights abuses in Iran and create space. Congress should support diplomacy, not undermine it.
Officials warn against H.Res.568
Senator Dianne Feinstein warned this resolution would interfere with current diplomatic efforts with Iran: “I really believe that these negotiations should proceed without any resolutions from us right now….This is a very sensitive time. Candidly, I think diplomacy should have an opportunity to work without getting involved in political discussions about a resolution.”
Colin Kahl, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East cautioned: “I think that all of us in this town need to be very careful of taking positions, whether its up on the Hill or out there, that box in our negotiators from being able to find a diplomatic solution….That’s what concerns me about the resolution.
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, warns: “This resolution reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran….it’s effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.”