Amid rampant warnings that "the drums of war are beating" since President Donald Trump ditched the Iran nuclear deal last year, more than 50 pro-democracy groups representing millions of Americans are calling on members of Congress to rein in the Trump administration's hawkish policy toward Iran—which has included crippling economic sanctions—and instead push for diplomacy.
"The Iran deal blocked Iran's paths to a nuclear bomb. It's good for U.S. security and for our allies," charged CREDO Action, one of the groups backing the call. Iran maintains that it does not plan to pursue a nuclear weapons program and, according to the U.N. watchdog, has remained complaint with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—the official name of the agreement negotiated and signed by the Obama administration—while working with European leaders to salvage the deal.
As the groups outlined in a statement on Wednesday, their specific demands for federal lawmakers are:
- Support for the JCPOA and returning the United States to compliance with the agreement;
- Opposition to sanctions that:
- disrupt any party's implementation of the JCPOA;
- prevent the United States from coming back into compliance with the JCPOA in the future;
- disproportionately impact Iranian civilians rather than regime officials engaged in illicit or destabilizing activities;
- block necessary humanitarian and medical supplies from reaching the country;
- Support for good faith diplomacy toward additional agreements as the preferred basis for addressing further concerns about Iranian activity; and
- Opposition to starting a war of choice with Iran.
"Lawmakers must stand firmly against the Trump administration efforts to drag the U.S. into another disastrous war in the Middle East," tweeted Colleen Moore of Beyond the Bomb, which also signed on to the statement. Other signatories include Demand Progress, Foreign Policy for America, Global Zero, Indivisible, Jewish Voice for Peace, MoveOn, Peace Action, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Win Without War.
We are proud to be one of over 50 pro-diplomacy groups to sign this statement urging US lawmakers to re-enter the #IranDeal. Read the statement here: https://t.co/sZ80SaGpuU pic.twitter.com/x7s20YSV9T
— Ploughshares Fund (@plough_shares) February 20, 2019
The demands were issued a day after House Democrats put out a damning report alleging that, according to government whistleblowers, there are "efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia"—efforts which may be ongoing, potentially violate federal law, and come without the consent of Congress. Responding to the news on Twitter Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who played a key role in securing the nuclear deal, slammed the U.S. government for its "hypocrisy."
The push for diplomacy also follows a U.S.-led summit in Poland last week where Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made alarming remarks about "confronting Iran" while Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani—on behalf of a group of Iranian exiles—called for regime change. Earlier in the week, Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton marked the anniversary of Iran's 1979 revolution with the threatening suggestion that the country may not "have many more anniversaries to enjoy."