It seems as if this week so far has been filled with activities aimed at preventing our current administration from carrying out a wild plan to use military force against Iran just when there are openings and calls for negotiations leading to a diplomatic solution coming from statesmen in both nations. Unfortunately that doesn’t include either our President or theirs.
So this weekend we worked to update the wonderful leaflet called Iran Next? No War, No Way! Myths and Truths about Iraq Iran. There’s been a change in focus of the alarmist rhetoric from our government. Now that the NIE of 2007 has agreed that there has been no evidence of a program of making weapons grade uranium since 2003 in Iran and now that Iranian diplomats and the Foreign Minister of Iran are considering allowing an EU and US consortium to work on enriching uranium for power generating purposes within Iran, it’s more difficult to justify the use of force or even of cruel sanctions that will cause suffering for the most vulnerable people in Iran, (very old and very young civilians and the women who care for them). Since that tactic of scaremongering is coming up against some facts and findings that are slowing it down the Bush administration has been ramping up another set of fearful accusations that Iran is sending fighters, explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) and all manner of other weapons and munitions. Never mind that there has been no evidence that the EFPs were made in Iran and no Iranian fighters have been captured. But I digress.The updates to the leaflets deal with the new myths and with updates to the truths that can counter them. If you want to read the old (2007) leaflet you can visit http://www.womenagainstwar.org Then click on the Iran section and click on Iran Resources
So that’s one form of work and then there’s lobbying and legislative work. Last Thursday, July 31st we got the chance to meet with our local Representative Mike McNulty’s Chief of Staff, Charlie Diamond. We were lobbying against a terrible bill in the House of Representatives HCR 362 that contained language setting up a likely blockade of Iran. There was lobbying of all of the co-sponsors but we were pleasantly surprised when we got a chance for a follow-up meeting on Monday, 8/4/08 with Mike McNulty himself. He had read all of our materials and, at our request, had signed on to a second bill that advocates multilateral peace negotiations in the region to bring about an end to the Iraq occupation and includes Iran as one of the regional key players. That bill is HCR 321, if you’re interested. So yesterday he told us that he had spoken to the author of HCR 362 and said that he would not support the bill unless clause 3 with the blockade like language was removed. And Representative McNulty along with Charlie Diamond came to a media conference after our meeting and said so!
I know, remembering these bill numbers is kind of like remembering which cholesterol, HDL or LDL is the healthy one. But never fear, help with Congressional bills is available at an outstanding website http://Thomas.loc.gov
And the other form of media work that we’re doing is vigiling in a public place when a big local food festival will be going on and thousands of people will be walking by us during the lunch hour. We have large dramatic banners, amazing photos of Iranian people, and informative leaflets to hand out. We’ve been working with these props for about a year and a half and we’ll keep doing it until we think that diplomacy with Iran and not military force is the path that our government will follow. I’d be overjoyed if we could move on to another area of peace and justice. There are so many choices.