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Support Citizen Diplomacy to Iran


On January 16th of this year, a team of 14 U.S. wrestlers arrived in Tehran to participate in the top wrestling event in Iran, the Takhti Cup.  For centuries this has been one of the top sporting events in the country.  It was the first group of U.S. athletes to visit Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution - and they were given a hero's welcome.

Goodwill.  President Bush has squandered so much of the goodwill the U.S. had around the world as a "beacon of democracy" in years past, and especially after the tragedy of 9/11.  He hasn't squandered it all though.

At the end of this month, Paul Kawika Martin, our National Organizing and Political Director, will become the next in a succession of Peace Action citizen diplomats, as he will travel to bring and cultivate that goodwill with the people of Iran.  Given Bush's latest rounds of arms transfers to the Persian Gulf, advance deployment of U.S. naval forces there, and escalating threats against Iran, Paul's mission comes at a critical moment.

Our sister organization Peace Action Education Fund needs to raise $5000 to send Paul to Iran and help disseminate his message when he returns.  Will you join us in our campaign to prevent war with Iran, and become a sponsor of Paul's citizen diplomacy mission to that nation? Click here to sponsor his trip.

Last year, Melissa Van, Executive Director of Peace Action of New York State , returned from her "Peace Between Peoples" trip to Iran with stories of how warmly she was welcomed by the people she encountered.  New Hampshire Peace Action Director Anne Miller had the same experience in Iran in 2005. Similar stories are told by Peace Action leaders Madelyn Hoffman, George Martin, Judy Lerner, Mario Galvan and Steven Brion-Meisels who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Afghanistan in the past several years to counter our government's belligerent saber-rattling and war-making with person-to-person, citizen diplomacy.

They return from their trips and travel the country speaking at media interviews and events organized by our affiliate network, spreading the knowledge and understanding that comes from actually meeting the people our government calls "the enemy." And though they have traveled to different countries at different times, one fact remains constant.  They are welcomed by those they meet.  The people of the world still want Americans to know them as friends, not enemies.

Paul will be traveling for 13 days and meeting with a variety of civil society leaders in Iran, as well as meeting prominent ayatollahs and former Iranian President Khatemi, a noted reformer, and then touring some of the disputed nuclear sites. Please help send Paul to Iran on this crucial mission of citizen diplomacy as we use every means at our disposal to prevent a U.S. war with Iran.

I reported to you in October that the Bush Administration had begun preparing for possible military action against Iran.  Peace Action immediately began to mobilize the opposition.  We worked with our allies in Congress to begin asking the right questions and make other Members of Congress aware the public was watching.

Peace Action launched the "No War with Iran!" petition campaign and we will soon be delivering your names to Congress.  We have joined with colleague organizations to print full page ads in Congressional newspapers this month condemning any attack on Iran.  Our chapter and activist network is now fully briefed and working in their local communities to mobilize opposition, insuring our elected officials know we are watching and will act in defense of peace.

And I am thrilled today that our pressure is beginning to pay off, as Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi publicly said this week that she would launch legislation to try to block any attack on Iran absent congressional authorization.  This is great news.  But even knowing this we cannot relent for a second in our efforts, and participating in a citizen's diplomatic mission to Iran is yet one more way we can work to build understanding between peoples, and to further mobilize opposition to Bush's insane plans for a larger regional - or even world - war.

Our hope, as Americans, that the people of Iran will not be subjected to the same madness that has engulfed the people of Iraq, and that's why, with your support, we will send our Political and Organizing Director to Iran this month.  He will bring back a message of diplomacy to Members of Congress, their staff and the media.

Hope is a powerful force.  It has helped us build a strong movement with majority public support that has challenged Bush to a standstill in Iraq, and will, I truly hope, prevent a catastrophic military strike against Iran.

And as we struggle against great forces to create peace in the Middle East, it is our hope that is the well of our strength to act, when outrage is no longer enough.  Paul will be traveling with that hope now, and I thank you again for your generous support as a sponsor of Paul's "Peace Between Peoples" mission to Iran.

He will be offering his hand in friendship and hope, on your behalf and mine.

In peace,

Kevin M. Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S.  Five thousand dollars is a lot of money for us, but Paul's trip to Iran, and what he can do with that experience when he returns, will be priceless.  Thanks again for your generous sponsorship of his citizen diplomacy mission.  Alas, even with good news such as Speaker Pelosi's announcement, the warnings of advancing plans for U.S. attacks on Iran grow daily, so our work to prevent war in Iran must continue unabated.  If you haven't signed our online petition for peace with Iran, then please do so today.  And thanks for forwarding it to your friends and putting the viral power of the internet to work at preventing another war.


... Payvand News - 2/12/07 ... --

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