Star Tribune Editorial: Challenge Iran with diplomacy, isolation & Action & Call-in Day, January 18

Editorial: Challenge Iran with diplomacy, isolation

Note for Twin Citians:  Come to the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge Vigil this Wednesday, January 18, to say “No New Wars.”  4:30-5;30.

We also urge you to take some time on Wednesday, January 18, to send a message to our two senators, Amy Klobuchar (612-727-5220) and Al Franken (651-221-1016) telling them you don’t support war, war threats or sanctions on Iran and Syria. 

No New Wars – Hands Off Iran & Syria!   Organized by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition

The U.S. has escalated its threats of military intervention against both Iran and Syria and has placed harsher sanctions on both countries. The U.S. government needs to hear that people are against these acts of hostility against these countries. We have a responsibility as Americans to try to stop all forms of U.S. aggression around the globe. We need to be ready to protest if the U.S. or one of its proxies like Israel or NATO attack Iran or Syria. 

We learn from the New York Times and Washington Post on January 12 that there is a covert or “shadow” war being waged against Iran by the U.S. and Israeli forces. In addition, the U.S. is sending additional military forces to the region. The news media reports “growing tensions,” with Iran, all in the name of “stopping nuclear proliferation.”    Twin Cities Peace Campaign

Updated: January 13, 2012 – 7:18 PM    Star Tribune

Coordinated, cohesive diplomatic efforts are already working.

As fear over Iran’s nuclear intentions continues to grow, it’s time for responsible world leaders to exercise caution.

Yes, efforts to discourage Iran from seeking a nuclear weapon need to continue. But just as important, steps should be taken to avoid a war with the Mideast nation.

There is no clear consensus on how close Iran is to developing a nuclear weapon, or on whether Iranian leaders have even made the political decision to try.

As recently as Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is: Do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.”

It should be. A nuclear-armed Iran could trigger an arms race throughout the volatile Mideast, as regional rivals such as Saudi Arabia seek to keep up.

Although Iran’s intentions are unclear, it would not be surprising if its insecure regime, surrounded by nations that have undergone regime change due to international intervention or domestic upheaval, tried to ensure its survival by developing a nuclear weapon.

In November, the International Atomic Energy Agency weighed in, stating that: “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device.”

The hope is that internationally integrated diplomatic and economic efforts will convince Iran that the cost of ignoring warnings from the United States and its allies is simply too high. On that front, ongoing efforts are encouraging.

In June, the U.N. Security Council imposed its fourth round of economic sanctions. In November, the United States and other Western nations began isolating Iran from the international financial system with coordinated sanctions against its banking sector.

And this month many European nations edged toward embargoing Iranian oil altogether. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has encouraged several Asian nations, which are even more dependent on Iranian oil, to decrease their purchases.

Some oil-producing countries in the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, have signaled that they may be able to increase their oil supplies on the world markets.

There are also covert strategies underway.

Technological efforts, such as the deployment of the “Stuxnet worm” computer virus that may have degraded or destroyed 20 percent of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, continue.

Five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated. The U.S. State Department condemned the killings and denied any involvement.

Iranian officials have tacitly admitted that the sanctions are hurting the country’s economy. Accordingly, their rhetoric, and actions, are becoming more bellicose.

Iran warned an American aircraft carrier that it should not return through the Strait of Hormuz. It has threatened to close the strait, through which up to 20 percent of the world’s oil supply flows.

And this week Iran announced that it would execute an American it had convicted for spying for the CIA. The Obama administration denied that he was a spy and rightly called for his immediate release.

The increasing tensions heighten the chance of miscalculation by both sides.

President Obama must continue to lead the multinational isolation effort, while at the same time not letting domestic politics keep him from a direct dialogue with Iran, if the opportunity unexpectedly presents itself.

For their part, some of the GOP candidates vying to replace Obama need to temper their overheated rhetoric about bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Coordinated global diplomacy — not bombs — offers a better chance for success.

* * *

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We learned from the sanctions on Iraq after the Persian Gulf War that sanctions kill and target the most vulnerable members of society – particularly the elderly and children. More people were killed by U.S. sanctions on Iraq than in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII. It is imperative that we see sanctions as a deadly form of warfare on the civilian population.

The Obama administration uses the Iranian nuclear weapons program as their primary justification for a potential military attack on Iran. But who has actually used nuclear weapons? The U.S. If the president doesn’t want the country of Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons then he should try to build a peaceful relationship with Iran instead of threatening it, attacking it’s scientists, and sending troops into neighboring countries like Israel.

The U.S. government is the only one to have used atomic weapons in war. After the last ten years of wars and interventions conducted on the basis of lies, with the deaths of untold thousands of poeple in Iraq and Afghanistan, the warmakers in Washington are in no position to lecture anyone about “human rights” or “weapons of mass destructions.”

The U.S. also uses human rights as an excuse for intervention in both Syria and Iran. However history has shown us in Iraq that bombs don’t bring people democracy, freedom, or security. Instead what occurs is military occupation, a puppet government and more opportunities for U.S. corporations. The people of Syria and Iran should determine their own political future. The U.S. does not have the right to decide who is fit to rule and should not use its military to force a government more accepting of U.S. imperialism or corporate interests into power.

We want to stop these wars BEFORE they start. Please contact your senators and tell them to stop supporting sanctions and war threats.

On this Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, we recognize that millions of people are without jobs and housing, while billions are spent on U.S. wars and interventions around the world. People need jobs, housing and health care, not more wars.

Senator Amy Klobuchar
612-727-5220
http://klobuchar.senate.gov/emailamy.cfm

Senator Al Franken
(651) 221-1016
http://franken.senate.gov/?p=contact

Twin City Peace Campaign

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