Letter to the House of Representatives on U.S. policy towards Iran

July 10, 2008

Dear Representative:

On behalf of our 400,000 members and supporters, Common Cause urges Members of Congress not to support the Concurrent Resolution regarding US Policy toward Iran; particularly the House version (H. Con. Res. 362). We believe sections of the resolution are ambiguous, potentially destructive and do not further a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

To gain a better understanding of potential military consequences called for by the resolution we consulted with military experts Dr. Lawrence Korb, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Lt. General Robert G. Gard Jr. (US Army, ret.) and Chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, and Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, US Navy (ret.). Relevant to the stringent inspection requirements called for by the resolution on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or leaving Iran, they concluded that despite the protests of its sponsors "implementation of inspections of this nature could not be accomplished without a blockade or the use of force," their full letter to Congress is attached. We hope that Congress will take seriously their concerns based on their long experiences in this area.

Common Cause is also concerned that Congress is too hastily passing a resolution that gives the President overly broad authorities and sends a mixed and unrealistic messages to the Iranians and the rest of the world. Our position is that Congress has the authority under the Constitution to declare war, and while this resolution is nonbinding and specifically denies that war is the intention, the bellicose and ambiguous nature of language in the resolution calls this into question. While the resolution calls for an increase in diplomatic efforts, those clauses are drowned out by a call for a prohibition of the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in the negotiation of the suspension of Iran's nuclear program

Tensions are extremely high between the United States and Iran and Congress has the responsibility to act thoughtfully and productively. The current resolution falls far short in communicating a clear and productive message about our intentions to Iran and the world community and ought to be abandoned. In its present form it will no doubt be construed as provocative and further contribute to an increasingly hostile rhetoric between the two countries, bringing us closer to a potential confrontation.


Bob Edgar,

President and CEO

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