J Street just sent out an alert calling on its followers to contact their legislators and urge them to sign a letter being circulated by Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) advocating niceties with Tehran.
“The drums of war with Iran are sounding ever more loudly,” Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street writes. “Sadly, too many Washington politicians are focused on sounding tough rather than on developing sound strategy to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”
The Ellison-Jones letter to President Obama reads in part:
As tension with Iran continues to escalate, we urge your Administration to utilize all available tools of diplomacy to resolve the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program and prevent another costly war in the Middle East.
We have supported your Administration’s efforts to unite the international community to bring about the strongest sanctions on Iran to date. Now, we must redouble our diplomatic efforts to achieve robust transparency measures that can verify Iran’s nuclear program is strictly a civilian one. Without a corresponding diplomatic undertaking, we are concerned that a lack of communication with Iran could lead to a dangerous escalation with potentially devastating consequences.
…We strongly encourage your Administration to pursue bilateral and multilateral engagement with Iran. While we acknowledge that progress will be difficult, we believe that robust, sustained diplomacy is the best option to resolve our serious concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, and to prevent a costly war that would be devastating for the United States and our allies in the region.
Jones sponsored a resolution that died in the 110th Congress requiring that “absent a national emergency created by attack by Iran, or a demonstrably imminent attack by Iran, upon the United States, its territories or possessions or its armed forces, the President shall consult with Congress, and receive specific authorization pursuant to law from Congress, prior to initiating any use of military force against Iran.” Ellison was a co-sponsor.
And that’s today’s Heads in the Sand Update.