Working for the Iran Deal 2015

Increasing tensions with Iran now remind me of the work we did in 2015 to help get the Iran Nuclear Deal approved. Tensions today are the direct result of the withdrawal of the United States from that deal.

The work began with the only time I have been on a conference call with President Barack Obama. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) helped make that call possible.

July 31, 2015

Last night President Obama spoke for half an hour by phone to activists who support him. He described how the Iran deal is a good deal for the United States and all the counties who joined in the negotiations in good faith that they would all agree to the deal. This is the agreement that the international community hammered out and supports. If Congress defeats this bill, that will likely end any influence the United States could have in the Middle East. Opponents of the bill only offer that we need a “better deal”, but have nothing to offer as to what that could possibly be. Those who say we should continue with sanctions don’t understand that is not possible now. Sanctions only work when the international community supports and enforces them. That won’t happen if they see the U.S. cannot agree on a foreign policy, as would be evident if this bill is defeated. There is also the question of who the sanctions hurt, which is the people of Iran, not their leaders. This feeds the movement to join terrorist organizations. An improved standard of living for the Iranian people should help mitigate that. The President specifically asked us to speak out to support this deal. “In the absence of your voices, you are going to see the same array of voices that got us into the Iraq war, leading to a situation in which we forgo a historic opportunity and we are back on the path of potential military conflict,” he said.

August 27, 2015

When MoveOn couldn’t find anyone else to do it, I’ve spent the past week, with the help of Erin Polley, AFSC, organizing the delivery of a petition with over 10,000 Indiana signatures supporting the Iran nuclear deal. Members of North Meadow Circle of Friends, Indiana Moral Mondays, and MoveOn met with staff of Senator Joe Donnelly’s Indianapolis office yesterday. Senator Donnelly now supports the deal, so this was a ‘thank you’ event, which the Senator’s staff indicated didn’t happen very often.

October 5, 2015

The New York Times (10/22/2015 Issue) used the title How They Failed to Block the Iran Deal that this quote comes from:

“While Durbin and Nancy Pelosi were tracking the votes in their respective chambers, the president took a larger part and also played rougher in this fight than had been his custom. He accused Republicans of “making common cause” with Iran’s hard-liners. He stated that the alternatives were the deal or war. Even some of his allies thought he’d gone a bit overboard with these statements, potentially alienating some undecided Democrats, and he pulled back from them. Obama responded to the requests by Pelosi and Durbin to make calls to wavering Democrats, more calls than he’d made on any previous legislation. He held special briefings in the White House for members of Congress; he participated in a conference call with the outside groups on his side.

That was the call I wrote about at the time: Obama briefs activists

As a direct result of that call, with the help of MoveOn we organized the delivery of over 10,000 signatures of Hoosiers who support the Iran Nuclear Deal to Senator Joe Donnelly’s office. Iran petition delivery to Senator Donnelly

The following Minute was approved the summer of 2015.

Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) supports the peaceable agreement among world powers, including the United States and Iran, to dramatically curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing international sanctions against Iran. We hope this will be the beginning of many more peaceful negotiations.

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