Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Iran is a LIE too! H. Con. Res 362 Action Part 1

James at the PINK house has done an excellent job of putting together some information on Iran and H. Con. Res. 362. We know that Thelma Drake is a Co-Sponsor of the bill and we are now working to get her to withdraw her support. You can follow the bill here and check to see if your representative is supporting the bill for sanctions (an act of war) on Iran.

Please review the information below for talking points, or go to the national site and print out the document and give it to your representative here:

H. CON. RES. 362

1) The Resolution's introductory paragraph refers to “Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

This claim is not supported by the current National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the joint conclusion of America's 16 intelligence agencies. To the contrary, the NIE states that the U.S. has no evidence that Iran has had such a program for at least five years.

2) “Whereas” (No. 3) states that “the IAEA has confirmed... importation of designs to convert highly enriched uranium gas into metal and shape it into the core of a nuclear weapon.”

This assertion is FALSE. H. Con. Res. 362 falsely attributes this claim to the IAEA. It is actually from the 18 electronic documents (not original documents) supplied to the IAEA by various states favoring strong action against Iran. The IAEA's June 2008 report refers to such documents as “alleged” and “purported,” stating explicitly that they have not been authenticated.

Of Iran's nuclear enrichment program, the IAEA report states: “The Agency currently has no information... on the actual design or manufacture by Iran of nuclear material components, or of other key components, of a nuclear weapon. Likewise, the Agency has not seen indications of the actual use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies.”

Regarding the alleged documents, the IAEA was not provided with original copies of the documents, but only electronic versions which they were not authorized to share with the Iranians in order that Tehran could respond to the alleged evidence.

3) “Whereas” (No. 9) states that “Iran's leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel...”

This assertion is FALSE and based on a false translation. According to University of Michigan Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Juan Cole (and numerous other Middle East experts):

"Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to 'wipe Israel off the map' because no such idiom exists in Persian... the proper translation is that Ahmadinejad “hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse... The actual quote, which comes from an old speech of Khomeini, does not imply military action, or killing anyone at all.”

4) “Whereas” (No. 13) refers to the “rapid development” of Iran's nuclear capabilities:

This characterization is wildly off the mark. According to The New York Times, “...the centrifuges that Iran is running appear to be inefficient... While the cascade worked, 'It didn't operate well,' Mr. (David) Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security said in an interview, echoing his May 17 Congressional testimony.” (NYT, 5/29/06)

Also: “Western nuclear analysts... called (Iranian) claims exaggerated (and) said nothing had
changed to alter current estimates of when Iran might be able to make a single nuclear weapon... 5 to 10 years, and some analysts have said it could come as late as 2020.” (NYT, 4/13/06)

5) “Whereas” (No. 16) alleges that Hamas “illegally (seized) control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority...”

This characterization is 180 degrees wrong. An article appearing in the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair reveals “how (the Bush administration) backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.”

The article by David Rose cites “confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials” including David Wurmser, one of the founding NeoCons, who served as Cheney’s Middle East adviser until he resigned in July of 2007. Wurmser said, “There is a stunning disconnect between the President’s call for Middle East democracy and this policy. It directly contradicts it.” (DemocracyNow!, 3/5/08)

6) H. Con. Res. 362's final “Whereas” avers that “nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran.”

However, the same resolution “demands” that the President take action to prohibit: “the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran's nuclear program”

As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's June 24, 2008 article concludes “such a unilateral blockade constitutes an act of war" under international law.

Additional Information:

• The allegation that Iran supports terrorist groups is misleading. Only a handful of countries consider Hamas and Hezbollah “terrorist groups,” and the U.N. does not so designate either group. Both groups are very popular in the Middle East, especially among the local populace. Both have offered long-term peace deals with Israel and been rebuffed. Neither kills anywhere near the number of civilians the Israeli Defense Forces do (the 2006 war with Lebanon provides a stark example of this phenomenon).

• Ironically, Congressman Ackerman, H. Con. Res. 362's sponsor, is on record as supporting a State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq), despite their history of killing American civilian and military personnel.

• The Ford administration encouraged Tehran to seek nuclear power on the grounds that their oil would one day run out.

• Prior to his ouster the Shah of Iran, a U.S. ally, working with Israel planned to fit nuclear warheads onto Iranian missiles in clear contravention of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

• H. Con. Res. 362 hypes the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran by citing the worst case scenario presented in the 2007 NIE – that Iran could have enough enriched uranium for a weapon “as soon as late 2009,” neglecting to mention that the same NIE concludes that “this is very unlikely,” pointing to 2013 as a more reasonable estimate.

• America has scant evidence that Iran is supporting terrorism against the U.S. The New York Times reported in February of this year that American officials are “perplexed in recent years over whether Iran had decided not to use terrorism as a weapon against the United States.”

• H. Con. Res. 362 exaggerates the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran by suggesting that their ballistic missiles are “almost exclusively” suited to nuclear weapons – which the NIE disputes.

• H. Con. Res. 362 suggests that the Bush administration has pursued diplomacy. The truth is that this administration has consistently rejected diplomatic overtures from Iran, including the 2003 “grand bargain,” in which Tehran offered to put EVERYTHING on the table: nuclear enrichment, support for Hamas and Hezbollah, recognition of Israel, cooperation in Iraq... The administration would not even respond to Tehran's offer and rebuked the Swiss ambassador for relaying the offer in the first place.

• H. Con. Res. 362, echoing Bush administration propaganda, puts a disproportionate emphasis on the role played by Iran in the wars being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. American allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have had a far greater detrimental role in those two countries, respectively: Saudi Arabia providing most of the suicide bombers and funding for the insurgency in Iraq; Pakistan being the chief protector – and source – of the Taliban, releasing from their prisons dozens of Taliban implicated in suicide bombings and using the vast majority of the U.S. $5 billion for defense against India rather than against militants/jihadis.

• Ironically, the Bush administration has allied itself with SCIRI (The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq), the Iranian-created/controlled Shi'ite faction in Iraq, rather than the far more popular, indigenous Sadrists. The difference: The Sadrists want the occupation to end; the Iranian faction, like the Bush administration, is willing to see the occupation continue and the country split into 3 semi-autonomous regions.

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