Broad Coalition Calls for Congress to Support Diplomacy, Oppose War of Choice

by NIAC News

Washington, DC - With rising concerns of war with Iran, twenty-six leading Iranian-American, Jewish-American, Muslim-American, arms control, human rights, pro-democracy, pro-peace, and faith organizations called for any legislation advanced by Congress to support a diplomatic resolution to the standoff and make absolutely clear there is no authorization for military force against Iran.

In a letter led by NIAC to Congressional leadership, the organizations call for Congress to advance H.R.4173, the Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act, and to oppose S.Res.380 and H.Res.568:

April 5, 2012

The Honorable John A. Boehner                               The Honorable Harry Reid
Speaker of the House
                                              Senate Majority Leader
H-232 U.S. Capitol Building                                      S-221 Capitol Building
Washington, D.C. 20515                                          Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                    The Honorable Mitch A. McConnell
House Minority Leader                                             Senate Minority Leader

H-204 U.S. Capitol Building                                      S-230 Capitol Building

Washington, D.C. 20515                                           Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader Pelosi, Minority Leader McConnell:

We are deeply concerned by the increasing prospects of a disastrous war between the United States and Iran. At a time of dangerously escalating tensions, we urge in the strongest possible terms that any legislation advanced by Congress support a diplomatic resolution to the standoff and make absolutely clear that there is no Congressional authorization for military force against Iran. 

Ultimately, America's interests with Iran will only be successfully achieved through a diplomatic solution. We strongly encourage you to advance legislation in support of this goal, such as H.R.4173, the Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act. This legislation would advance diplomacy by lifting the "no contact policy" that bars U.S. diplomats from speaking with their Iranian counterparts. It would also establish a special envoy to lead direct talks with Iran, and would clarify that there is no authorization for war with Iran.

Similarly, we urge you to oppose S.Res.380 and H.Res.568, which greatly hinder the Administration's current diplomatic efforts by contradicting the long established U.S. "redline" of a nuclear-armed Iran, accepted and supported by our nation's military leaders and intelligence community. By introducing the undefined term "nuclear weapons capability," Congress would needlessly open the door to war based on a threshold that experts say could apply to numerous countries ranging from Brazil to Japan. This is a dangerous and irresponsible standard upon which to base the decision for military force and, if adopted as U.S. policy, would make a war of choice far more likely while obstructing a diplomatic, inspections-based solution.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently declared that a war of choice with Iran would be a "catastrophe." Military and civilian leaders have unanimously echoed this assessment and warned that a military attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran more likely. Economists have warned that war with Iran would impose tremendous burdens on the fragile global economy, dramatically spike gas prices, and cost an untold number of jobs here at home. Members of Iranian civil society have warned that war, and even the threat of war, would be devastating for human rights and the pro-democracy movement in Iran. The American people expect all diplomatic and peaceful options to be exhausted before any military action against Iran is considered. Our brave servicemen and women deserve nothing less. And all Americans deserve a Congress that will ensure that the United States will never initiate an unauthorized war of choice and will instead utilize every diplomatic means at its disposal to peacefully resolve the standoff with Iran.


National Iranian American Council

3P Human Security

American Friends Service Committee

Americans for Peace Now

Center for Interfaith Engagement at Eastern Mennonite University

Center for International Policy

Council for a Livable World, Inc.

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

Holy Name Province Franciscan JPIC Office

Just Foreign Policy

Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness

Muslim Public Affairs Council

New Internationalism Project of the Institute for Policy Studies

Peace Action

Peace Action West

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Progressive Democrats of America

Project On Middle East Democracy

Student Peace Alliance

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

Win Without War

Women’s Action for New Directions

Cc:       House Foreign Affairs Committee

            Senate Foreign Affairs Committee