A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
FCNL Urges Congress Not to Move More Iran Sanctions LegislationFCNL is working with the Campaign for a New American Policy on Iran to persuade Congress not to move new blanket Iran sanctions legislation this fall. Congressional sanctions action now would likely benefit Iran's hardliners and harm reformers. It would also increase the chance that the Obama administration's policy of engagement will ultimately fail and that Iran will be prompted to hinder the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pro-sanctions groups are expected to make a big push this fall to pass H.R. 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act in the House, and its Senate companion, S. 908. FCNL sent the following letter and attachments to members of Congress this week.
September 3, 2009
Dear Member of Congress,
We write to ask that you work to ensure that Congress does nothing that will harm the persistent movement for reform in Iran, reduce the chances of resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, or endanger U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan.
To avoid these undesirable consequences, we urge you to oppose efforts to move H.R. 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, or similar legislation to the House floor for a vote this fall. Action now on H.R. 2194 or similar blanket sanctions legislation would almost certainly have these three negative and possibly catastrophic consequences.
I attach three documents for your reference:
- an op-ed by Trita Parsi and Hossein Askari, "Throwing Ahmadinejad a Lifeline," explaining how new sanctions action by Congress now would hurt Iran's reformers and help hardliners regain control
- a statement by Brookings analyst Bruce Riedel on the danger that Iran could pose to the U.S. in Afghanistan
- an article from Israel's Ha'aretz reporting the conclusion of Israel's Mossad intelligence service that Iran could not have a deliverable nuclear weapon before 2014 at the earliest.
Given the unsettled situation in Iran, the sensitivity of the U.S. position in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the absence of an imminent nuclear threat from Iran, it is clear that action by Congress this fall would be not be in the U.S. national interest. We urge you to work to avoid such precipitous and harmful action. Thank you very much for your consideration.
Legislative Secretary, Foreign Policy