Nearly half of the U.S. Senate has lined up behind a bipartisan Iran sanctions bill since it was introduced just before the holiday recess—a significant gain in support for legislation that many warn could sabotage the diplomatic processes underway and risk a catastrophic war.
“We believe this bill will destroy negotiations with Iran and make war with Iran possible,” declared Vietnam military veteran Barry Romo. “We need to respect the international community and the American public, who overwhelmingly want a peaceful settlement with Iran.”
“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—in a statement emailed to Common Dreams. “The timing of such actions speak more directly to the interventionist policies of some members of the Senate and their primary objective of obstructing diplomatic engagement with Iran.”
According to a public roster, 48 senators—15 of them Democrats—have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. This is a significant jump from the bill’s initial 26 co-sponsors upon introduction December 19. The bill requires 51 votes to pass the Senate.
“If this bill goes to a vote and passes, it promises to destroy all the diplomatic progress President Obama has made with Iran so far,” reads a statement from Just Foreign Policy. “Leaders in Iran’s Majlis are already warning that they will respond in kind to the passage of this legislation—and that Iran may opt out of talks altogether.”
The so-called Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013 (S. 1881) was introduced by powerful Republicans and Democrats: Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). The Obama administration has publicly condemned the legislation and vowed to veto it if it passes, indicating cracks in the Democratic party as the hardline position gains steam.
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