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Protesters Blockade Rep. Ackerman's Houseboat

Janie Lorber

WASHINGTON - A flotilla of peace protesters in canoes and rafts attempted to blockade the houseboat of Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Jamaica Estates) early Wednesday morning in reaction to legislation he submitted that would impose sanctions on Iran.0709 13

The Queens Democrat emerged from his home on the Potomac River smiling and clapping after the demonstrators, known as Code Pink, had been chanting for nearly 30 minutes. They want Ackerman to withdraw the legislation because they believe it symbolizes the first step on a path to war. Instead of force, Code Pink is calling for direct talks with the Iranian government.

"This is not an embargo," Ackerman told the protesters. "We're not calling for a blockade. It is basically what the UN is doing. The UN has imposed sanctions on Iran."

Ackerman said he would be willing to meet with any Iranian government official without preconditions, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but would not retreat from his legislation.

This morning Iran test-fired a missile capable of reaching Israel. The missile called the Shahab-3 is the country's longest-range weapon.

Ackerman said he expected the bill, which already has 220 co-sponsors, to pass the House easily, though no date has been set for a vote.

Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.

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