[pjw] INFO: Iran: End Sanctions, Resume Dialogue (Voices for Creative Nonviolence)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Wed Jun 26 11:34:24 EDT 2019

Hi again Iraq Affinity Group supporters

I've been thinking about writing a piece about how "Sanctions Are War" 
connecting what's going on with Iran to what happened in Iraq in 
1990-2003. Here is a piece from Kathy Kelly at Voices for Creative 
Nonviolence doing just that, and more.

I would just add that the UN Resolution (#687) that imposed sanctions on 
Iraq stated that verifying Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction (which 
of course we learned to be the case AFTER the US invaded in 2003) was to 
take "steps towards the goal of establishing in the Middle East 
a zone free from weapons of mass destruction." But that's not the US's 
real goal, rather it is to decide who can and cannot get nuclear weapons 
to determine the balance of power (see Kathy's points about Saudi Arabia 
and Israel).

dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2019 07:49:00
From: Voices for Creative Nonviolence <info at vcnv.org>
Subject: An Honorable Course in Iran: End Sanctions, Resume Dialogue

The economic war cripples Iran's economy and afflicts the most vulnerable 
Iranian people-- the sick, the poor, the elderly and the children.

An Honorable Course in Iran: End Sanctions, Resume Dialogue
The greatest outlier in terms of possessing nuclear weapons is the U.S.
Kathy Kelly
June 25, 2019

Last week, Elham Pourtaher, an Iranian graduate student at the State 
University of New York in Albany, wrote 
about how U.S. policies cause suffering and trauma far beyond U.S. 
borders. Her diabetic father, for example, is in danger of losing access 
to medicines because sanctions against Iranian banks 
(https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/24/us/politics/iran-sanctions.html) make 
it nearly impossible to pay for imported goods, including medicine 
and food. Shortages could lead to thousands of deaths. Pourtaher described 
"the collective sense of fear caused by the increased sanctions."

President Trump expressed concern 
that 150 people could be killed if U.S. airstrikes against Iran had been 
carried out last week. We must ask how many people could die because of 
economic warfare against Iran.

The economic war cripples Iran's economy and afflicts the most vulnerable 
Iranian people-- the sick, the poor, the elderly and the children.

In more than seventy visits to Iraq from 1991 to 2003, Voices in the 
Wilderness, a team 
of peace activists I was part of, reported on deteriorating conditions as 
people struggled to find desperately needed goods, including medicines and 
medical relief supplies. By 1996, U.N. officials reported 
that the economic sanctions directly contributed to the deaths of hundreds 
of thousands of children.

Wasting away from curable diseases, thousands of children who entered 
pediatrics wards never left. In Baghdad, Mosul, Babylon, Amara, Nasiriyah, 
and Basra, we visited wards that became death row for infants. Those 
children were by no means criminal. They couldn't possibly have been held 
accountable for the actions of Saddam Hussein and the ruthless 
dictatorship ruling Iraq. Their plight seldom appeared in U.S. news 
reports about Iraq. But they were brutally and lethally punished, 
ostensibly because Iraq might possess weapons of mass destruction. By the 
end of 2002, most Iraqis I knew dreaded a new round of military attacks 
and invasion. People I'd regarded as having nerves of steel said, "Believe 
me, Kathy, I am so scared," or asked, "How can I possibly protect my 

On February 5, 2003, colleagues and I huddled over a shortwave radio on 
the balcony of Baghdad's Al-Fanar hotel, straining to hear Colin Powell as 
he presented 
evidence that he said proved beyond a doubt that Iraq harbored weapons of 
mass destruction. After the 2003 bombing and invasion, evidence of Colin 
Powell's allegations simply couldn't be found. Now, Iraq is a broken, 
battered, and traumatized country.

Why should the United States now be punishing Iran?

In its last quarterly report, issued May 31, the International Atomic 
Energy Agency again verified 
Iran's compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 
so-called nuke deal, even though the United States has reneged on it. 
Noted analyst Professor Juan Cole emphasizes 
that Iran's theocratic government adheres to Islamic teachings, which 
forbid stockpiling or use of weapons that afflict mass casualties on 
civilian populations. This surely includes nuclear weapons.

The greatest outlier in terms of possessing nuclear weapons is the United 
States, which in an alarming new development has granted 
seven permits for the transfer of sensitive nuclear information by U.S. 
businesses to the Saudi government. So far, the Saudi government has not 
shown readiness to abide by safeguards 
which would prevent it from diverting or misusing nuclear materials 
(https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/S1_Safeguards.pdf) to assemble 
nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia already has sophisticated ballistic missile 
delivery systems. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated 
on national TV that if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, so will Saudi 

In 2016, the United States signed 
a Memorandum of Understanding to provide Israel with $38 billion in 
military assistance over a ten-year period. Even though the official 
Israeli position is neither to confirm nor deny the existence of its 
nuclear weapons program, it is now estimated that Israel has a nuclear 
of at least eighty warheads. However, Israel still is not a state party to 
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The double standards in foreign policy maintained by the United States-- 
one standard for U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia and a different 
standard for Iran-- undermine any progress in ending wars and the 
potential for new wars in the Middle East.

Rather than punish Iran, the United States should immediately return to 
the Iran nuclear agreement and support proposals regularly advanced at the 
Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty conferences for a Nuclear Weapon Free 
Zone in the Middle East.

The U.S. government claims it is threatened by Iran. Yet, according to 
David Stockman writing 
in Antiwar.com, the United States surrounds Iran with forty-five U.S. 
bases, and Iran-- s defense budget of less than $15 billion amounts to 
just seven days of money spent by the Pentagon. The United States, which 
claims Iran is supporting terrorism, continues to enable Saudi Arabia's 
aerial terrorism as it regularly bombs civilians in Yemen. On June 24th, a 
ship bound for Saudi Arabia departed from Wilmington 
(https://www.ustradenumbers.com/port/port-of-wilmington-n-c/) , North 
Carolina carrying bombs, grenades, cartridges and defense-related 
aircraft.  The United States also supplies 
weapons to Bahrain, the UAE, Sudan and other countries which actively 
participate in the Saudi-led Coalition making war against Yemen. The Saudi 
government directly supports 
the military government in Sudan, which recently killed 
at least 100 peaceful protesters who were part of Sudan's Democratic 

Rather than planning cyberattacks and new means of aggression, the United 
States should heed calls for dialogue and negotiation, relying on Albert 
Camus's conclusion to his profound anti-war essay 
following World War II: "The only honorable course will be to stake 
everything on the formidable gamble, that words are more powerful than 

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