NIAC Action Commends Lee-Schakowsky-Price Resolution on JCPOA Return

WASHINGTON DC – Moments ago, Reps. Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, and David Price introduced a resolution calling for the United States to return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran deal, from which Donald Trump withdrew in May 2018.

In response, NIAC President Jamal Abdi issued the following statement:

“Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal has put the U.S. on the brink of war with Iran and threatened to undo the hard won constraints against Iran’s nuclear program. Thankfully, many Members of Congress recognize that there is no military solution to the present crisis, and that the best way to de-escalate is for the U.S. to return to compliance with the nuclear deal. Representatives Lee, Schakowsky and Price should be commended for their years of leadership in advancing peace and diplomacy, including by introducing this important resolution.

“NIAC strongly supports a U.S. return to its JCPOA commitments and first issued a white paper in support of such a move last November. We proudly supported the DNC’s adoption of a resolution committing to return the U.S. to its JCPOA commitments. And we advocated for and welcome the strong majority of Democratic Presidential contenders who have also committed to returning to our diplomatic obligations — including Warren, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg, Biden, Gabbard, and O’Rourke.

“There remains strong political will in Congress to restore U.S. credibility and engage Iran diplomatically–despite Trump and Bolton’s push for war. For Members of Congress and Presidential contenders, it is good and important to call out Trump’s dangerous moves that have taken us to the brink of war. Yet, the root cause of this crisis was Donald Trump’s decision to kill a strong nuclear agreement with Iran, which is why signaling support for a return to compliance is so important. The Lee-Schakowsky-Price resolution helps solidify the growing consensus for a JCPOA return while signaling that the window for diplomacy is not shut, nor is the opportunity to restore U.S. credibility with both the international community and the Iranian people.

“We thank Reps. Lee, Schakowsky, and Price for their leadership on this resolution and urge all of those who prefer diplomacy over war to cosponsor it and press for a vote.”

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Background
The resolution was co-sponsored by Reps. Beyer, Blumenaeur, Cohen, Connolly, Doggett, Eshoo, Gallego, Grijalva, Haaland, Jayapal, Khanna, Levin Andy, Lowenthal, Payne, Jr., Pocan, Raskin, Welch, Yarmuth.

Pro-Diplomacy Organizations: NDAA Conferees Must Honor Bipartisan Majority’s Opposition to Unauthorized War with Iran

As pro-diplomacy organizations that oppose unauthorized war with Iran, we call on the National Defense Authorization Act conferees to retain language supported by a bipartisan majority in both chambers that would prohibit funds for military action against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress.

The Trump Administration has repeatedly signaled its intent to subvert Congress’ constitutional prerogative to decide when the United States will and will not go to war. The Administration violated and abandoned the agreement restraining Iran’s nuclear activities and engaged in a series of escalations with Iran. While Iran has ratcheted up the tension in recent weeks, the Trump Administration’s provocations and saber rattling have made conflict, not negotiations, more likely.

The question of whether American forces should be put in harm’s way is one of the utmost gravity. The Constitution gives the power of the purse and the power to declare war to Congress, and Congress alone. Congress needs to assert its constitutional powers to prevent decisions about the use of force being made by an administration that has acted with gross recklessness and profoundly weakened key alliances and multilateral partnerships essential to addressing threats from Iran. Any unilateral escalation risks both further alienation and getting mired in another disastrous war in the region.

Bipartisan majorities in both chambers support blocking funds for unauthorized military strikes against Iran. Although the Senate bill did not include this provision, 51 Senators indicated their support for the Kaine-Udall amendment. 251 Representatives voted for the Khanna-Gaetz amendment prohibiting funds from being used for military action against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress.

Given the bipartisan majority in both chambers supportive of ruling out an unauthorized war with Iran, the conferees must ensure the Khanna-Gaetz amendment is fully included in the final bill.

Failing to honor the will of the American people’s elected representatives on this point, at the very moment the administration is barrelling toward an unauthorized and costly war of choice, would be an undemocratic and historic abdication of constitutional responsibility.

American College of National Security Leaders
Americans for Peace Now
Arab American Institute
Arms Control Association
Center for America Progress
Center for International Policy
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Common Defense
Council for a Livable World
CREDO Action
Demand Progress
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Foreign Policy for America
Global Security Institute
Indivisible
International Crisis Group
J Street
MoveOn
NIAC Action
Open Society Policy Center
Peace Action
Peace Corps Iran Association
Ploughshares Fund
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Truman National Security Project
T’ruah
VoteVets
Union of Concerned Scientists
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions

NIAC Applauds House for Pulling U.S. Back from the Brink of War with Iran via Khanna-Gaetz Amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday July 12, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mana@niacaction.org

WASHINGTON DC – Moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bipartisan amendment from Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to bar funding for an unauthorized war with Iran. The amendment passed with a final vote count of 251-170. The Khanna-Gaetz amendment was offered as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and builds on the momentum from last month’s Senate vote on the Kaine-Udall amendment, which also would have also blocked the Trump administration from launching an unauthorized war with Iran.

In response to the passage of the Khanna-Gaetz amendment, NIAC Action President Jamal Abdi issued the following statement:

“The House of Representatives should be applauded for its vote today to stop an unauthorized war with Iran before it starts, and we call on the Senate to follow suit. With the passage of the amendment from Representatives Ro Khanna and Matt Gaetz, legislators moved one step closer to pulling the U.S. back from the edge of a war that the American people do not want and that Congress has never authorized. With nearly all of the 2020 presidential candidates calling for the U.S. to return to the Iran nuclear deal, and now with the House passing the Khanna-Gaetz amendment, a bipartisan consensus against the Bolton-Pompeo approach to Iran has clearly emerged.

“Such safeguards would not be necessary if the Trump administration were not recklessly endangering American security with its incoherent maximum pressure approach toward Iran. Last month, the President took us ten minutes from war, which would have been certain to trigger Iranian reprisals and a long trail of consequences not confined within Iran’s borders. Both the President and his Secretary of State have intimated that they do not need Congressional approval to launch a war, with many Members of Congress alarmed by the administration’s transparent attempts to justify a war with Iran under the 2001 authorization to use military force.

“The Iranian-American community and the broader American public know that war with Iran would be a disaster. That’s why a majority in the House and Senate now are on the record voting for provisions to rule out an unauthorized war with Iran. It is imperative that legislators ensure that the final defense authorization bill includes the Khanna-Gaetz amendment.

“We applaud Reps. Khanna and Gaetz for their leadership. Without the help of Chairmen Eliot Engel, Adam Smith and Jim McGovern as well as Reps. Anna Eshoo, Seth Moulton, Anthony Brown, Barbara Lee and countless Americans who spoke out against war with Iran, this vote would not have been possible.”

Call Your Members of Congress to Support the Khanna-Gaetz Amendment!

This is an emergency. We’ve never been this close to military action against Iran. Now is the time that we must reach out to our members of Congress to make sure they put a check on the warmongering administration. Given the seriousness of the situation, we need to act now, and calling is our most effective option.

This week, the House will vote on an amendment that would block an unauthorized war with Iran. With your help, we can put a concrete legislative roadblock between Trump and war with Iran.

Calling your House Representative is easy, just follow these steps:

  1. Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC to reach the Congressional Hotline and ask to be connected to your Representative.
    You can find out who your House Representative is by clicking here.
  2. Follow this script:
    “My name is XX and I’m a constituent from YYtown. I’m concerned that we are closer than ever before to a war with Iran, which would be a disaster for the United States, Middle East and people of Iran. I strongly urge the representative to cosponsor and vote for the Khanna-Gaetz amendment to the NDAA to block an Iran war. Will the representative cosponsor and vote for the Khanna-Gaetz amendment?“

 

Don’t have time to make a call? Fill out the action alert below to send an email to your representatives:

 

Call Your Senator: Stop Trump from Starting War with Iran

This is an emergency. We’ve never been this close to military action against Iran. Now is the time that we must reach out to our members of Congress to make sure they put a check on the warmongering administration. Given the seriousness of the situation, we need to act now, and calling is our most effective option.

On Friday, June 27, the Senate will vote on an amendment that would block an unauthorized war with Iran. With your help, we can put a concrete legislative roadblock between Trump and war with Iran.

Calling your Senator is easy, just follow these steps:

1) Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC to reach the Congressional Hotline and ask to be connected to your Senators.

You can find out who your Senators are by clicking here.

2) Follow this script:

“My name is XX and I’m a constituent from YYtown. I’m concerned that we are closer than ever before to a war with Iran, which would be a disaster for the United States, Middle East and people of Iran. I strongly urge the Senator to support the Kaine-Udall-Paul amendment to block an Iran war, and to oppose a vote on the defense authorization if there is no vote. Does the Senator support the Kaine-Udall-Paul amendment?“

 

Don’t have time to make a call? Fill out the action alert below to send an email to your representatives:
 

NIAC Applauds NDAA Amendment Aimed at Blocking Trump’s Path to War

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 25, 2019  
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mana@niacaction.org

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, an amendment was offered to the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would block an unauthorized war against Iran. The amendment, introduced by Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), has wide support including from the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel and the Chairman of the House Rules Committee Jim McGovern. Many other legislators – including Reps. Anna Eshoo, Andy Levin, Barbara Lee, Seth Moulton and Anthony Brown – who have been champions in the effort to ensure Trump doesn’t lead us into an unauthorized war are already signed on as original cosponsors of the amendment.

In response to the amendment’s introduction, NIAC President Jamal Abdi issued the following statement:  

“Congress may be all that is standing between Donald Trump and war with Iran. It is crucial that lawmakers summon the wherewithal to act as a co-equal branch of government to stand up against a disastrous war with Iran. 

“The Khanna-Gaetz amendment is a strong response to the growing risks of war with Iran that stem directly from President Trump’s disastrous maximum pressure approach. 

“After nearly two decades of endless war, the American people do not want another reckless war of choice with Iran. Congress must ensure that the defense authorization rules out war with Iran by passing the Khanna-Gaetz amendment in the House, the Udall-Kaine amendment in the Senate and protecting the provisions from pro-war legislators.

“Recent events have only underscored the importance of ruling out an unauthorized war with Iran. Our thin-skinned President lashed out on Twitter this morning in response to a mistranslation of an Iranian statement, and maintains that he does not need Congressional authorization to start a war. Other Members of Congress – including Mitch McConnell and Tom Cotton  – have shamefully played defense for Trump’s reckless actions in an attempt to keep the path to war with Iran open.”

Pro-Diplomacy Organizations Call for Vote on Udall Amendment to Prevent an Unauthorized War with Iran

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2019

Americans for Peace Now, Arms Control Association, Council for a Livable World, Foreign Policy for America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Indivisible, J Street, MoveOn, NIAC Action, Ploughshares Fund, VoteVets and Win Without War issued the following statement:
 
As pro-diplomacy organizations that oppose unauthorized war with Iran, we call on Senators to support the bipartisan Udall-Kaine amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and make clear that they will vote against cloture to proceed to final passage of the NDAA unless and until the amendment is put to a vote. 
 
Yesterday, President Trump falsely asserted that he has the authority to initiate military action against Iran without first going to Congress. Last week, he nearly ordered unauthorized strikes on Iran that could have led to a major war. After this close call, we are more convinced than ever that the Senate must vote on the Udall-Kaine amendment to the NDAA.
 
Having violated and abandoned the agreement restraining Iran’s nuclear activities and engaged in a series of escalations with Iran, the Trump Administration is now poised to subvert Congress’ constitutional prerogative to decide when the United States will and will not go to war. While Iranian misbehavior has increased in recent weeks, the Trump Administration’s provocations and saber rattling have made conflict, not negotiations, more likely. 
 
The question of whether American forces should be put in harm’s way to strike a country nearly four times the size of Iraq and with more than twice the population is one of the utmost gravity. It must not – and constitutionally cannot – be left to any administration alone, especially one that has acted with gross recklessness and profoundly weakened key alliances and multilateral partnerships essential to addressing threats from Iran. Any unilateral escalation risks both further alienation and getting mired in another disastrous war in the Middle East. 
 
We therefore urge Senators to support and further insist that the bipartisan Udall-Kaine amendment – which would prohibit appropriated funds from being used for military action against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress – receive a vote in the Senate’s present consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act. Senators should make clear that they will vote against cloture to proceed to final passage of the NDAA unless and until the Udall-Kaine amendment is put to a vote. 
 
A no vote on cloture in no way impacts pay or other support for our military personnel. Rather, launching an unnecessary and unauthorized war would do a disservice to our troops and all Americans. 
 
The Trump Administration’s current Iran policy has proven a disaster. If the Senate fails to consider the Udall-Kaine amendment while legislating on defense authorization, at the very moment the administration is barrelling toward an unauthorized and costly war of choice, it would be an historic abdication of constitutional responsibility.
 
Note: This letter was updated on 6/25 to include a recommendation to vote against proceeding to cloture

Call Congress: Stop Trump from Starting War with Iran

This is an emergency. We’ve never been this close to military action against Iran. Now is the time that we must reach out to our members of Congress to make sure they put a check on the warmongering administration. Given the seriousness of the situation, we need to act now, and calling is our most effective option.

Calling your member of Congress is easy, just follow these steps:

1) Call 1-844-ACT-NIAC to reach the Congressional Hotline and ask to be connected to your Representative.

You can find out who your Representative is by clicking here.

2) Follow this script:

“My name is XX and I’m a constituent from YYtown. I’m concerned that we are closer than ever before to a war with Iran, which would be a disaster for the United States, Middle East and people of Iran. What are you doing to make sure that Trump doesn’t launch an unauthorized war?

 

Don’t have time to make a call? Fill out the action alert below to send an email to your representatives:
 

An unprecendented win for the Iranian-American Community

Parisa celebrating her historic win during her election watch party with Governor Terry McAuliffe and NIAC staff members and supporters.

On Tuesday night, NIAC Action endorsee Parisa Dehghani-Tafti won her election in a highly contested race for Commonwealth Attorney of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, unseating the long-time incumbent prosecutor. Parisa’s candidacy gained national attention after receiving endorsements and unprecedented amounts of support from notable figures like billionaire philanthropist George Soros and musician John Legend!

A victory like this is rare, as prosecutors are rarely unseated and traditionally remain in their seats for their lifetime. But Parisa’s track record of success signaled the possibility of change, and NIAC Action was proud to support her candidacy from its earliest days all the way through her election win.

NIAC Action also congratulates its endorsee Yasmine Taeb, who ran an impressive campaign for Virginia State Senate against an establishment candidate that remained unchallenged for 40 years. Although being outspent 10-1 by one of Virginia’s top corporate fundraisers, her grassroots efforts brought her within a few hundred votes of achieving a historic upset victory. Like Parisa, Yasmine’s campaign also received national attention, forcing her opponent to campaign in-person for the first time in decades.

These political gains represent real power across the Iranian-American community. They also mark critical steps towards building a strong political pipeline for other Iranian Americans interested in securing a seat at the table of all levels of government.

NIAC Action supports and encourages Iranian-Americans to participate in the U.S. democratic process and run for office. As we approach 2020, we will seek a fresh wave of progressive Iranian-American civic leaders looking to represent this community.

NIAC Action Endorsee Unseats Incumbent in Virginia Primary Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x 103 | mana@niacaction.org

VIRGINIA— Moments ago, the Virginia Department of Elections polling results indicated that NIAC Action endorsee, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, has unseated incumbent Theo Stamos to become the state’s new Commonwealth Attorney of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, by a margin of 58.5% to 41.5%. Separately, NIAC Action is continuing to monitor the election results for NIAC Action endorsee and DNC delegate Yasmine Taeb in her race for Virginia’s 35th Senate District.

In response to Dehghani-Tafti’s win, NIAC Action Political Director Arzo Wardak said:

“Rarely are prosecutors unseated, and many find themselves in their seats for a lifetime. But that trend is changing–beginning with Parisa. Parisa is an extraordinary woman who now holds the honor of being the first Iranian-American ever elected to this position. Parisa’s influence was felt long before the election results came in. She is among a fresh wave of progressive Iranian-American leaders inspiring a new generation and nurturing civic engagement among a community that has historically shied away it.

“Her candidacy marks an important step forward for the Iranian-American community, and for all communities looking to secure a seat at the table. And her victory illuminates the growing trend of Iranian Americans not only casting off previously ingrained hesitation about civic engagement, but actually wholly leaning into the idea of building political power.

“Parisa is poised to reform the criminal justice system to the benefit of all Virginians–including for minority and immigrant communities who have traditionally found themselves disenfranchised by the system. With Parisa now steering the state toward the path to progressive politics, Virginia voters can now rest assured that there is a candidate in office who is driven by only one thing: the best interests of her constituents.”

Pro-Peace Coalition Delivers Petition Urging Congress to Block Trump’s Path to War with Iran

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Contact: Mana Mostatabi | 202-386-6325 x103 | mana@niacaction.org

Washington D.C. – Today, NIAC Action, Win Without War, MoveOn, J Street, Daily Kos, and CODEPINK delivered 249,000 petition signatures to the House Armed Services Committee members ahead of tomorrow’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markup. The organizations called for the addition of an amendment to the NDAA that would prevent funding for a war with Iran without Congressional approval.

[View photos of the petition drop here: http://bit.ly/NoIranWarJun11]

“Make no mistake, the Trump administration’s decision to exit the Iran deal and re-impose sanctions has brought the U.S. closer to war with Iran,” said Donna Farvard, NIAC Action Organizing Director. “Congress must set up legal barriers to block Trump’s ability to start another disastrous war in the Middle East.”

“Donald Trump and his War Cabinet led by John Bolton have taken us closer to war with Iran than we’ve ever been. After nearly two decades of disastrous military misadventures in the Middle East, only a fool would think a war with Iran would be anything but catastrophic. The Trump administration’s march to war is a five-alarm fire that Congress needs to put out as soon as possible,” said Stephen Miles, Director at Win Without War.

“Before we wake up to find that Trump has declared war on a sovereign nation via Twitter, it is time for Congress to go on the record and act to prevent a war with Iran,” explained Iram Ali, Campaign Director at MoveOn. “It was Congress, after all, that passed the hard-fought multilateral Iran Deal—a historic, bipartisan win for diplomacy between Iran and the United States. By walking away from the Iran Deal, increasing sanctions, and being belligerent in their rhetoric and actions, Trump and his administration are intentionally manufacturing a military confrontation with Iran that we can not afford.”

“Pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans want to see Congress do everything in its power to make clear that the president has no authorization to use military force against Iran,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “If the Trump administration does launch a new war of choice with Iran it will have disastrous consequences for the region, for US interests and for the American people.”

“The last thing this country needs is to enter yet another costly war that will lead to thousands more senseless deaths. Daily Kos calls on Congress to speak up and push back against Trump’s violent and dangerous rhetoric concerning Iran,” said Daily Kos Communications Director Carolyn Fiddler.

“While the Trump administration is building a case for war with Iran, the international community is desperately trying to save the JCPOA and dial down the conflict. It’s time for the Trump administration to listen to American people, the Iranians and the world community. All want to find a peaceful resolution and prevent another disastrous war in the Middle East,” said Lily Tajaddini, Iran Campaign Coordinator at CODEPINK.

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64 Organizations to Congress: Halt a March to War with Iran

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 21, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mana@niacaction.org

Washington, D.C. – In light of President Trump and John Bolton’s dangerous escalations against Iran and a forthcoming intelligence briefing on Capitol Hill this afternoon, 62 organizations – including J Street, Indivisible, NIAC Action and Win Without War – sent a letter calling on Congress to pass legislation to halt a march to war with Iran.

The combined groups, representing millions of Americans concerned about renewed threats of war with Iran, signals a strong desire for Congress to step up and block Trump from leading America into yet another war of choice.

“Last Fall, Americans voted for a new Congress to act as a co-equal branch of government that would finally serve as a check on this president and his reckless impulses,” said NIAC President Jamal Abdi. “Now Trump and his National Security Advisor John Bolton are taking this country to the brink of a completely avoidable military confrontation. It’s time for Congress to turn its words into action by passing legislation to stop Trump and Bolton from starting an illegal war.”

“President Trump’s chaos-first foreign policy centers around his penchant for turning challenges into crises,” said Win Without War Advocacy Director Erica Fein. “His Iran policy is no different: President Obama took us off the path to war, but now Trump and Bolton have put us back on it. It’s time for Congress to put the brakes on a Trump-Bolton war with Iran.”

“If the Trump administration were to launch a war of choice against Iran it would have devastating consequences for the United States, Israel and the entire region,” warned J Street head of government affairs Dylan Williams. “Congress must fulfill its constitutional responsibility by making absolutely clear that the president is not authorized to trigger a new conflagration in the Middle East.”

According to the letter, “As the drumbeat for war grows louder, Congress must fulfill its Constitutional duty and enact further constraints to unequivocally prevent the administration from launching an unauthorized war.” The letter concludes, “The American people do not want another disastrous war of choice in the Middle East. Congress has the chance to stop a war before it starts. Please take action before it is too late.”

Please see the full text below:

Letter No Iran War 64orgs