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Congressman Kucinich: Iran Counter-Proliferation Act Unintentionally Undermines Diplomatic Efforts

WASHINGTON - September 25 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), released the following statement today:

"Madam Speaker I was unavoidably detained for the vote on HR 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007. I wish to make clear my opposition to this bill. The bill inadvertently brought attention to the need for diplomatic negotiations. I am concerned that the bill will undermine diplomacy," Kucinich said.

"Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Bush Administration falsely accused Iraq of having Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations conducted inspections in Iraq and concluded that there were no WMD in Iraq. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq the accuracy of IAEA and the UN inspections was inevitably verified when the U.S. found no evidence of WMD in Iraq. Has this Congress not learned from previous mistakes? The IAEA has an actively engaged team of experts that are closely monitoring Iran's activities. There is and has been a good working relationship between Iran and the IAEA. The inspections that the IAEA perform are essential and it is important that the U.S. does not undermine this relationship. However, legislation such as HR 1400, which is based on the premise that Iran has the intention of acquiring nuclear weapons, contributes to a corrosive environment that undermines inspections performed by proven agencies like the IAEA.

"HR 1400 seeks to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of Iran as a foreign terrorist organization and place the IRGC on the list of specially designated global terrorists and weapons of mass destruction proliferators. This is an exceptional decree by this Congress. The U.S. has never before asserted the military of another nation to be a terrorist organization. Because the IRGC's main role is to protect the national security of Iran, it would appear that the United States would be better served by high-level diplomatic talks between nations to address concerns related to the IRGC than by broad condemnation and malign designation.

"HR 1400 singles out the Russia Federation as a country that is 'assisting the nuclear program of Iran or transferring advanced conventional weapons or missiles to Iran.' The Bush Administration has unfortunately advanced counter productive policies with respect to arms control. These policies have undermined international treaties meant to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and has permitted arms transfers to undemocratic nations. The United States has recently undermined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by agreeing to collaborate and share nuclear technologies with India, a nation that has refused to sign the NPT. Additionally, in a 2003 report released by the World Policy Institute, 13 nations received more than $2.7 billion in U.S. conventional arms transfers. The top beneficiaries of these transfers were the less than democratic governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan. Why then does this legislation specifically target the Russia Federation for similar actions?

"I am also concerned that the scope of this bill with regard to a prohibition on all imports, that would include even culturally relevant items such as art or rugs, is too broad. I do not believe that barring all imports from Iran is necessary or will produce the end that this bill purports to desire.

"I urge this body to cease with the consistent usage of misdirected statements and misguided legislation, all of which fuel aggression. Instead the United States should engage Iran in high-level diplomatic negotiations immediately. We need to create a new opening to Iran, not proceed with another war based on falsehoods," Kucinich concluded.
CONTACT: Congressman Dennis Kucinich

... Payvand News - 10/2/07 ... --

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