Comment and Update: On Tuesday evening, January 14th, it was reported by Associated Press that: “Under pressure from the Obama administration, Senate Democrats who favor a new batch of sanctions on Iran signaled a willingness to hold off on levying penalties to give diplomatic negotiations a chance. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made clear that a vote on a package of penalties pushed by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., wouldn’t occur anytime soon despite a call for a vote from Republican leader Mitch McConnell and a daunting number of backers for the legislation — 59.” (Full list at bottom of articles.)
This may have been as far as AIPAC, the right wing Israeli lobby, and their puppets in the US senate ever intended to go. If they had pushed and succeeded in derailing the Iran peace talks they would have lost political power not gained it. Overriding an elected president’s foreign policy on the critical issue of war would not have been taken lightly by the American people or the US foreign policy establishment. It would have correctly perceived as an overreach and abuse of power. However, by going as far as they did the right wing pro-Israel lobby may have made negotiations more difficult toward a respectful relationship between the US and Iran. Iran may reasonably want certain actions to be take by the United States but the US may fear it will be unable to deliver the congressional support that is necessary. So, these extremists may cause damage to the cause of peace by even going as far as they did.
The 59 senators who put the extreme views of the hawkish Israel government ahead of the foreign policy interests of the United States and the American people’s desire for no war with Iran should be held accountable. All 59 should be held to account by voters, especially the ringleaders of this effort the now notorious Bob Menendez and Mark Kirk. We have published a list of the co-sponsors on the bottom of this page so that there will always be a list of the senators who were so willing to send the US to war with a nation seeking a peaceful resolution of conflicts with the United States; and doing so to undermine the presidents efforts to negotiate peace. KZ
Eyes on Silent Dems as Hawks Push for War with Iran
‘This bill makes any peaceful resolution of nuclear standoff impossible’
A majority of Senate Democrats are refusing to reveal where they stand on a bipartisan Iran sanctions bill that experts warn risks a catastrophic war with Iran.
According to the latest count, 59 senators publicly support the Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013 (S. 1881) — 16 of the Democrats. Ten Democratic committee chairs have come out as opposed to the bill, and Harry Reid is said to be against it too. That leaves the positions of almost 30 Democratic Senators unknown, according to the count of Greg Sargent writing for theWashington Post.
The bill would advance further sanctions on Iran and impose near-impossible conditions on a final agreement. It stands in direct violation of an interim agreement reached in late November in Geneva that the U.S. will “refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions” during the six-month period the agreement is in effect, and critics charge it amounts to a call for war.
Introduced by Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), the bill is strongly backed by the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee and is opposed by the Obama administration.
Meanwhile, a rift in the Democratic party appears to be deepening. Last week, Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council spokeswoman, urged Democratic backers of the bill to admit their support is tantamount to a call for for war. “If certain members of Congress want the United States to take military action, they should be up front with the American public and say so,” she stated. “Otherwise, it’s not clear why any member of Congress would support a bill that possibly closes the door on diplomacy and makes it more likely that the United States will have to choose between military options or allowing Iran’s nuclear program to proceed.”
Also last week, Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI)—which Jim Lobe of Inter Press Service refers to as “the neocons who brought you the Iraq war“—issued an open letter urging congressional leaders to line up behind the bill.
Opponents of war with Iran say now is a critical time to contact senators and urge them to take a stand against the bill.
“If the bill passes and goes into law, I think this will be read not just by Iran but also the U.S.’s partners, as violation of the interim agreement,” said Abdi. “It’s going to convey to the world that the U.S. actually dropped the ball on diplomacy. That will render the diplomatic process terminated.”
He added, “Any way you slice it, this bill undermines peaceful resolution and makes any peaceful resolution of nuclear standoff impossible.”
Excerpt from transcript: Robert Naiman says:
Well, first of all, it’s very important to distinguish which Democrats in the Senate are doing what. As of now, only 16 Senate Democrats have cosponsored AIPAC’s bill, the bill that you’re referring to, that the administration and many other Democrats say would blow up U.S. diplomacy with Iran. Ten Senate Democratic committee chairs, led by Dianne Feinstein, who’s head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Carl Levin, who’s head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, ten Senate Democrats sent a letter to majority leader Reid saying, do not bring this bill to a vote, we oppose this bill, please let us know of any plans to bring this bill to a vote, ’cause we oppose bringing this bill to a vote.
So all Senate Democrats are not the same. Sixteen Democrats supported the bill. Ten Senate Democratic leaders spoke out strongly on the bill.
Other Democrats so far have for the most part neither spoken out against the bill, nor have they signed on to the bill. Bernie Sanders publicly criticized the bill, said he wouldn’t support it. Elizabeth Warren, as far as I know, hasn’t spoken out on the bill, per se, but in a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee she strongly attacked the logic of the bill.
So that’s where we stand is some Democrats in favor, some against, and the majority so far are not speaking out publicly.
Of course, the key Senate Democrat here is Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said that he has no plans to bring this bill to the floor.
Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (S.1881)
113th Congress (2013-2014)
Sen. Menendez, Robert [D-NJ]
Co-sponsors, listed alphabetically. This with an * indicate they were an original sponsor.