Activists Ask U.S. Rep. Lewis to Support Iran Treaty; Lewis, Johnson Support
(APN) ATLANTA — On Wednesday, August 26, 2015, approximately a dozen activists from the international #SupportIranDeal Coalition delivered a letter to the office of U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), asking him to support the controversial Iran Deal, a multilateral proposed treaty with Iran, which is currently before U.S. Congress.
“We are here today as your constituents… asking you to take a stance supporting the 159-page deal. We ask that you defend diplomacy as a national and global interest and encourage your colleagues who also represent Georgia to do so by coming out in full support of the Iran deal,” the letter stated.
The Iran Deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is a multilateral agreement meant to end the economic sanctions on Iran, in exchange for significant reductions in their nuclear capabilities. It addresses issues like: monitoring and inspections, uranium enrichment and stockpiles, and sanctions and violations.
The five permanent member countries of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, the UK, France, China, and Russia – along with Germany, negotiated with Iran over a twenty month period to produce the JCPOA.
“I think this is really important, because I think we should prevent war at all cost, and I think we need to lift the sanctions on the people in Iran… It will be better for them, and it will be better for us as the United States, because it’s very strategic for us to eliminate any possibility of Iran having a nuclear weapon,” Musaiba Mubarak, sociology student and constituent, said in an interview with Atlanta Progressive News.
The coalition met with Regional Director Aaron Ward and was assured that U.S. Rep. Lewis would be coming out in support of the deal, however no official statement had yet been released.
“I would like to see [Rep. Lewis] embrace this because we have seen war, time and time again… We know that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan were mistakes… The human value, you can’t put a price on that. So, for the sake of humanity, for us here, for our brothers and sisters in Iran, for everybody in this world, I really hope he’ll consider and support President Obama,” Stacey Hopkins, a constituent, said during the meeting.
The deal is expected to reduce Iran’s enriched uranium supplies by 97 percent, and reduce the number of centrifuges Iran has from twenty thousand to five thousand, in addition to other restrictions on the quantity and types of nuclear material Iran can produce.
Many of the divisions between the opposition and supporters of the JCPOA center on whether or not these measures will go far enough to prevent Iran from being able to covertly produce a nuclear weapon, as well as the time it would take for Iran to do so.
“Iran’s so-called ‘breakout timeline’ – the amount of time it would take Iran to acquire enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon if Iran breaks its commitments – will be extended from roughly the current 2-3 months, to at least one year during the first decade,” the White House claims in official statements.
Members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Lewis, have participated in classified meetings debriefing the contents of the 159-page deal.
“We’ve been concerned, and by we I mean the U.S. has been concerned, about Iran’s nuclear technology. So, the agreement says these economic sanctions will be lifted in assurance that Iran will give more access for us, the West, to monitor the plan,” Kimmia Salehi, a local student and Iranian-American, said in an interview.
“And then, in return, the US is just lifting the sanctions, the economic sanctions. Now this is very important for the people of Iran because, unfortunately, instead of pressuring the government, the sanctions have been pressuring the people. The prices of medicine, food, all kinds of products that people use in their daily life have skyrocketed,” Kimmia Salehi, a local student and Iranian-American, said in an interview.
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) announced his support for the plan in a statement circulated by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on August 27, 2015.
“The world agrees that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable, and that actions must be taken to ensure that Iran can never develop a nuclear bomb. What is the preferred course of action to achieve that objective?” Johnson wrote.
“Opponents would have Americans believe that the small nation of Iran could outsmart the six most powerful nations in the world. Only those who oppose this deal simply because it was led by President Obama would fall for that notion,” Johnson wrote.
“The six most powerful nations in the world worked together to negotiate the best deal possible, and Iran has agreed to give up its capacity to build a nuclear bomb. What more is there to achieve? Let’s stop playing politics with peace, and let’s give diplomacy a chance to work,” Johnson wrote.
“Implementing the JCPOA is a much safer and permanently effective alternative to bombing Iran to prevent it from building a nuclear bomb. Both proponents and opponents of the JCPOA agree: the only alternative to approving the JCPOA is a military strike against Iran. A military strike would have huge financial costs to American taxpayers, it could lead to all-out war and the loss of countless lives, including those of many Americans, and a military strike would fail to stop Iran’s determination to build a nuclear bomb. To the contrary, a military strike could very well incentivize and incite Iran to continue its nuclear bomb ambitions,” Johnson wrote.