For Immediate Release
Military Veterans to Protest Sen. Kirk's Bill Undermining Negotiations with Iran
CHICAGO - On Tuesday, December 31st, U.S. military veterans will join peace activists for a press conference and emergency picket outside of the downtown office of Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, to oppose his impending introduction of a bill they fear will ratchet up the possibility of a military conflict with Iran. They’ll gather for the action at noon at the northwest corner of Jackson and Dearborn, outside the Federal Building.
The U.S. and its diplomatic partners are currently engaged in ongoing negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program, within the framework of a tentative agreement to slowly lift sanctions. But on December 19th, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk -- with the strong support of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) -- announced a hardline punitive bill, Senate Bill S1881, that could threaten the recent diplomatic breakthrough and easing of tensions. Kirk is expected to introduce the bill in the Senate on January 6.
Veterans believe Kirk’s bill will undermine negotiations with Iran and ratchet up the possibility of war with the mideast nation. Veterans will urge Kirk to forgo introduction of the bill and instead support the diplomacy of the Obama administration and its allies, as part of a commitment to respect for the international community, the diplomatic process and the American public -- who overwhelmingly want peace with Iran.
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Military veterans at Tuesday’s press conference will talk about their concerns about Kirk’s bill within the framework of their personal experiences with the consequences of war, the price veterans inevitably pay, and the suffering civilians endure in war zones.
Vets groups organizing Tuesday's press conference include Iraq Veterans Against the War Chicago, Vietnam Veterans Against the War/Chicago and Veterans for Peace/Chicago. Allied organizations co-organizing the press conference include Civilian Soldier Alliance, and Gay Liberation Network. Other endorsing groups include United Electrical Workers/Western Region, which has been active in organizing low-wage workers in the Midwest, and the American Friends Service Committee, which has been active locally and nationally in the peace movement.
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Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) advocacy group of veterans and active-duty U.S. military personnel who have served since September 11, 2001. IVAW’s Right to Heal Initiative is focused on holding the U.S. government accountable for human right violations of the health of Iraqis, Afghans and U.S. veterans. IVAW currently has over 2,500 members in fifty states, as well as in Canada, Europe, and Afghanistan.