“Lawmakers are feeling the pressure,” said Abdi, confirming that “calls and letters to lawmakers overwhelmingly oppose this bill.” He added, “You have senators coming out who have co-sponsored this bill now saying they have second thoughts.”

Sixty-two organizations—including the National Iranian American Council, Havaar, MoveOn, and Daily Kos—released an open letter (pdf) to U.S. senators declaring, “By foreclosing diplomatic prospects, new sanctions would set us on a path to war… We strongly urge you to withhold co-sponsorship of S.1881 and delay consideration of new Iran sanctions while negotiations are ongoing.”

This is in addition to numerous petitions urging an alternative to war, as well as public polling that shows a majority of people in the U.S. support diplomacy.

Military veterans and allies kicked off the new year with a rally at the Chicago office of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)—one of the key backers of the bill—to condemn the legislation. New Jersey groups protested outside of the Newark offices of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to demand they drop their support for the legislation.

“Efforts by the US Congress to derail [diplomacy with Iran] would, if successful, constitute a self-inflicted strategic wound even more myopic than its vote to endorse the 2003 invasion of Iraq,” writes Stephen Kinzer for The Guardian.

“Sanctions which result in the suffering of ordinary Iranians are a morally bankrupt response to human rights violations,” said organizers with Havaar—a group of Iranians, Iranian-Americans, and allies who oppose sanctions, war, and state repression. “The timing of such actions, speak more directly to the interventionist policies of some members of Congress and their primary objective of obstructing diplomatic engagement with Iran.”


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