Saturday, February 25, 2012

ACTION: Oppose Oregon House Bill 4110 imposing sanctions on Iran

Dan Handelman


Yesterday, the Oregon House Revenue Committee approved a bill that will be heard very soon by the full House, that calls for divestment from any company connected to Iran's oil industry. Ostensibly, this is to fall in line with already-imposed (draconian, mostly unilateral) sanctions imposed by the US against Iran. As with Iraq in 1990 (-2003), sanctions will hurt the people more than the government. This is actually part of the drum-beat to war that must be reversed.

The vote could take place as soon as Friday, so contact your legislator as soon as  you can; if you don't know who they are, here's a place to get information:

Leah Bolger of Veterans for Peace in Corvallis-- who, I should add, is also now the President of the National Veterans for Peace-- wrote an excellent letter to her legislator which I include as a generic letter below for you to use to contact yours.

Here is the link to find out more information about the bill:

This is pretty depressing after a nice turnout of about 300 people at Sunday's "No War on Iran!" demonstration.
--dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Dear Representative ______:

I am writing today in opposition to House Bill 4110.

The main opposition against the bill comes from an argument that has been made in support of it "...the impact of this bill would be to make sure that Oregon funds are not used to build a nuclear weapons program..." This statement implies that Iran is building nuclear weapons.  There is no evidence to that, and in fact the opposite is true.

In a memorandum written on behalf of Veterans for Peace, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern wrote: "Defense Ministers Provide Context--Recent accusations that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon lack credibility. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his counterpart, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak have both said (on Jan. 8 and Jan. 18 respectively) publicly that Iran is not.

"On Face the Nation, Panetta asked: 'Are they [the Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon?' and immediately answered his own question: 'No.' Ehud Barak followed suit ten days later. He added that only if Iran expelled the U.N. inspectors would there be 'definite proof that time is running out' and that 'harsher sanctions or other action against Iran' might be in order."

But what we DO know for certain is that Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and has never let International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors into their country.  Pakistan and India have not signed the NPT either, and they both have fully developed weapons.  For the U.S. to impose sanctions of any kind on Iran is provocative, hypocritical, and inhumane.
Those sanctions the U.S. has already put in place are already having a crippling effect. There is superinflation and it is hurting the average Iranian.

Though I do not even support the development of nuclear power (there is too much danger of a catastrophe like Chernobyl or Fukushima), I acknowledge that every country has the right to develop nuclear energy. There is no evidence to show that Iran is doing anything more than that. But even if they were developing a nuclear weapon, how can we say that they have no right to, when Israel has them, we have them, India and Pakistan have them...?  If our state government wants to pull Oregon money away from all countries who are developing nuclear energy and/or have nuclear weapons, then I am all for that.  But this bill adds fuel to the fire that Iran is our enemy, and is not a positive step.

I am also bothered by the final portion of the bill:  "SECTION 9. This 2012 Act being necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is declared to exist, and this 2012 Act takes effect on its passage."  This is just more alarmist language to make people think that the U.S. is in imminent danger at the hands of Iran, when actually the opposite is true.

I would like to see the Oregon legislature pass a bill that says that they do not support any military attack on the nation of Iran.  That would do a lot more to calm the rush to war that we are hearing from everywhere. Though its crafters believe this is a very narrowly written bill, its implications are very harmful. I hope you will not support this bill.

Thank you,

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