Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA-6), Barbara Lee (D-CA-9), Keith Ellison (D-MN-5), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18) presented their arguments during a floor speech Tuesday evening. Their remarks came as Congress considers a defense supplemental bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year.
In a lengthy floor speech, Waters warned her House colleagues that the administration may be gearing up for a military confrontation. "Even as we remain engaged in a war in Iraq to which there is no military solution, this Administration has begun beating the drum for war with Iran," Waters said. The California congresswomen cited allegations by General Petraeus that Iran was preventing the realization of a democratic Iraq and media speculation about administration plans to attack Iran. She said a potential military strike on Iran would be "a colossal error."
We have seen this type of rhetoric and actions from the Bush administration before, Barbara Lee warned, in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. "This is starting to sound like the groundwork being laid for the need to take defensive action against Iran. This is unacceptable," said Lee. "What is needed is not another rush to unwarranted, unnecessary and misguided military action, but rather a strong diplomatic surge for peace and reconciliation." Lee is spearheading legislation that would create a special US envoy to Iran and pave the way for normalization of diplomatic relations between the two nations. The Iran Diplomatic Accountability Act of 2008 (HR.5056) has steadily gained cosponsors since its introduction in January. Waters and Woolsey are cosponsors of the bill and all five representatives are members of the Out of Iraq Caucus.
Jackson-Lee criticized the Bush administration for its inflammatory rhetoric and rejection of diplomacy. She said it is in the interest of American and Iraqi security that the US drop its pre-conditions for talks with Iran. "While full diplomatic, political, and economic relations between the U.S. and Iran cannot be normalized unless and until enforceable safeguards are put in place to prevent the weaponization of Iran's nuclear program, these policy objectives should not constitute pre-conditions for any diplomatic dialogue," the Texas congresswoman said.
Representative Keith Elision, a vocal advocate of diplomatic engagement with Iran, spoke of the potential consequences of even a targeted US strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. He also argued that diplomacy had not been tried. "I think that what we must do is pursue diplomatic negotiations," said Ellison."And remember that negotiation is not a reward, it's not a gift, it's not a present; it's a tool for the security of the world."
Washington DC - Iran is currently under global pressure for its nuclear program, its alleged state sponsorship of terrorist organizations, and the increasingly belligerent rhetoric of its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. According to the findings of a panel on Capitol Hill on April 15, these issues need multi-layered solutions. The event, "Iran and the United States: Outlook for the Next Decade?", was hosted by the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and the International Center for Terrorism Studies. - By Arash Hadjialiloo, NIAC
Washington DC - There is new momentum on Capitol Hill to pursue a shift in US policy towards Iran. Most recently, Senator Feinstein of California added her powerful voice to this debate, calling for direct, unconditional dialogue between the US and Iran. (See video). Urge your Senator to stand with her!
... Payvand News - 04/18/08 ... --