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ACTION ALERT: Beyond Belligerence: It's Time to Work with Iran


July 3, 2013
Friends Committee on National Legislation & Progressives United

A bipartisan pair of representatives is calling for the United States to seize the opportunity presented by Iran's presidential election results to advance a diplomatic solution over Iran's nuclear program. Reps. David Price (NC) and Charles Dent (PA) have teamed up to lead this pro-diplomacy letter, urging President Obama to "pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran's recent presidential election by reinvigorating US efforts to secure a negotiated agreement."

http://www.capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=62755891&type=CO

Tell Your Rep. to Seize Diplomacy Opportunity with Iran
Friends Committee on National Legislation

(July 1, 2013) -- A bipartisan pair of representatives is calling for the United States to seize the opportunity presented by Iran's presidential election results to advance a diplomatic solution over Iran's nuclear program. Reps. David Price (NC) and Charles Dent (PA) have teamed up to lead this pro-diplomacy letter, urging President Obama to "pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran's recent presidential election by reinvigorating US efforts to secure a negotiated agreement."

Never before has a bipartisan pair of representatives weighed in to express such strong support for robust diplomacy with Iran at such a crucial time. This effort is a unique chance for citizen advocates everywhere to ensure that US policymakers don't miss a rare opportunity to end the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

Seizing the Opportunity for Iran Diplomacy
Last month's presidential elections in Iran provide a new opening to re-energize diplomatic negotiations between our two countries. This week a bipartisan pair in Congress is organizing to urge President Obama to seize that opportunity. Urge your representative to sign the letter being circulated by Democrat David Price (NC) and Republican Charles Dent (PA) calling for robust diplomacy with Iran.

For the last decade, Congress has responded to concerns about Iran's nuclear program with attempts to isolate and punish Iran through sanctions and threats of war. By electing Hassan Rouhani as their next president, the Iranian people have sent a powerful signal of their interest in renewed negotiations.

Already, Rouhani has signaled his interest in the path of negotiations. But in Iran and in the United States, powerful voices are opposing any opening between our two countries.

The more signatures you can help FCNL organize on the bipartisan letter to president Obama supporting negotiations, the more pro-diplomacy momentum we will be able to create for sustained and comprehensive talks with Iran. Please ask your representative to sign this letter today expressing support for diplomacy with Iran.

Talking Points
I strongly urge you to sign the Price-Dent letter to urge the Administration to redouble diplomatic efforts to prevent war and a nuclear-armed Iran. This letter urges President Obama to "pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran's recent presidential election by reinvigorating US efforts to secure a negotiated agreement."

On June 14, millions of Iranians cast their ballot for Hassan Rouhani with a resounding 51 percent of the vote in the first round of elections. Rouhani campaigned on the view that obtaining a nuclear weapon would run counter to Iran's strategic interests and has been critical of the nuclear "extremism" of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Such a momentous opportunity to advance a diplomatic resolution of the stand-off over Iran's nuclear program should not be squandered. As countless US and Israeli military officials have pointed out, a war with Iran would be catastrophic. Please support the Administration's diplomatic efforts to prevent war and a nuclear-armed Iran



Unique Opportunity for Iran Diplomacy
Kate Gould / Friends Committee on National Legislation

(June 28, 2013) -- A bipartisan pair of representatives is leading an initiative that calls for the United States to seize the opportunity for repairing US-Iran relations in the wake of Iran's presidential election results.

Reps. David Price (NC) and Charles Dent (PA) are leading a pro-diplomacy letter, urging President Obama to "pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran's recent presidential election by reinvigorating US efforts to secure a negotiated agreement."

This effort is an unprecedented chance for citizen advocates to ensure that US policymakers don't miss a unique opportunity to end the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

Opportunity in Tehran
The letter is an important acknowledgement of the changed atmosphere in Iran for engagement with the United States. On June 14th, millions of Iranians took to the polls and elected moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani with a resounding 51% of the vote.

As the letter notes, Dr. Rouhani campaigned on the promise to "pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace" and has since promised "constructive interaction with the outside world."

The letter cautions that while it "remains to be seen whether his election will indeed bring significant change with regard to Iran's relations with the outside world," the potential for major diplomatic progress is strong.

President-elect Rouhani has already given a major address as stunning as his electoral victory. Once again, he called for engagement with the West, and used the word 'moderation' 15 times in his speech. Significantly, Rouhani also called for Iran not to shy away from criticizing the Assad regime's brutal crackdown in Syria:

"We should not describe as oppressive brutal actions in an enemy country while refraining from calling the same actions oppressive if they take place in a friendly country," he said. "Brutality must be called brutality."

Seizing the Moment
While it's true that we don't know how much power Rouhani will have as President or how he will use that power, we do know that he has been given a mandate by 18 million Iranians to work for reform. To the extent that President Ahmadinejad was a problem, President Rouhani could signal an opportunity to advance diplomatic solutions with Iran.

As the Price-Dent letter explains, Rouhani has previously indicated a willingness to compromise. "As Iran's former lead nuclear negotiator, [Rouhani] has also publicly expressed the view that obtaining a nuclear weapon would run counter to Iran's strategic interests and has been critical of the nuclear "extremism" of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

When it comes to moving toward successful diplomacy with Iran, usually Congress gets in the way, as the New York Times pointed out in an editorial on the topic. The more signatures this letter gets, the more pro-diplomacy momentum is created for negotiating in a sustained and comprehensive way with Iran. With enough signatures, this letter could begin a new chapter for congressional action to support diplomacy with Iran.

You can be a co-author in that new chapter by seizing the opportunity to ask your representative to sign on for advancing diplomacy to prevent war and a nuclear-armed Iran.

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