Now is our moment on Iran

July 24, 2008

All summer, Congress has been on the verge of supporting a provocative and dangerous naval blockade of Iran. Quick approval had been expected, but thankfully, some of our friends in Congress put on the brakes.

The House leadership now has the real power to stop Congress from supporting this escalation with Iran. Now’s the moment for us to speak up.

Last week, tens of thousands of us signed J Street’s open letter to Congress saying no to military action and yes to diplomacy. Congress heard our voices, along with a lot of others (including,, and Americans for Peace Now). And now, Congress is having second thoughts about “Resolution 362” and its call for a naval blockade. [1]

After initially supporting it, Reps. Wexler (D-FL) and Frank (D-MA) and have stated serious concerns with the resolution and will not support it in its current form. In addition, Rep. Cohen (D-TN), Allen (D-ME), and Clay (D-MO) have removed their names as cosponsors of Resolution 362. [2] [3] [4] Thanks to their leadership, Congress is now taking a second look at the Resolution.

Our new letter supports the work of these leaders to amend Resolution 362 in two ways:

  1. Remove the language that calls for a naval blockade.
  2. Add language that calls for direct American involvement in the negotiations with Iran, with the goal of stopping Iranian pursuit of a nuclear program and its sponsorship for terror.

If the Resolution is not changed in these two ways, Congress must oppose it.

Let’s be clear: we recognize the threat Iran poses to regional stability, to U.S. interests, and to Israel. But Resolution 362 in its current form undermines diplomatic efforts to address that threat. What better way to convince Iranian hardliners to pursue a nuclear weapon than to provoke them with a blockade?

Instead, we need tough, smart U.S. diplomacy – using carrots as well as sticks – to address Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Our friends in Congress have given us a crucial opening. Now’s our moment to put a clear stop to this failed Iran policy of saber rattling and military threats.

[1] “Anti-War Movement Successfully Pushes Back Against Military Confrontation With Iran,” Alternet. July 22, 2008.

[2] “Iran Resolution Must Change,” by Robert Wexler. The Huffington Post, July 7th, 2008.

[3] “Fearing Iraq Effect, Jewish Democrats Tread Carefully on Iran,” by Nathan Guttman. The Forward, July 15, 2008.

[4] “H.Con.Res.362 List of Cosponsors,” The Library of Congress Thomas.