May 15, 2021
We found out late last week that FOUR Democratic representatives from MD signed onto a letter that went to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on March 9, designed to make it harder for the US to reenter the nuclear deal with Iran.
These four Congressmen are Anthony Brown (who initiated the letter), Dutch Ruppersberger, David Trone and Kweisi Mfume. The letter—signed by 70 Democrats and 70 Republicans–makes war with Iran much more likely, and we are disappointed, disheartened and outraged by the actions of these members of Maryland’s Congressional delegation.
This letter will greatly complicate the efforts of the Biden Administration to reenter the Iran deal—realistically, the only way the deal can be reinstated is if there are no preconditions placed on Iran. The U.S., under Trump, abrogated the deal and then imposed draconian sanctions on the Iranian people—even during the pandemic!
It is beyond hubristic for the U.S. to try to expand the scope of the negotiations for reentry into the deal after taking these actions, as this letter demands.
Time is short. Iran will have an election in a couple of months, and if the U.S. has still not re-entered the agreement, the hard liners in Iran will have the upper hand, and the likelihood of a deal being struck will become virtually nil, while the chance of a devastating war will greatly increase.
In addition, we have learned that Democrat Bob Mendendez, the new chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a frequent keynote speaker at policy summits of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and a long-time opponent of the Iran deal, has joined with Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, perhaps Trump’s closest confidant and adviser in the Senate, to organize a similar letter in the Senate; this letter sets up impossible standards, making diplomacy impossible and derailing the Iran deal.
You may recall the Bush administration official who was quoted in 2003 as saying, “Anyone can go to Baghdad; real men go to Tehran.” Those people who were itching for war with Iran in 2003 are still around and they are still trying to start a war—can we prevent it this time?
Act for Peace with Iran
If you care about peace with Iran, we have three action items for you:
- With Code Pink and the National Iranian American Council, we are organizing a rally outside Rep. Anthony Brown’s Annapolis office, to protest his “leadership” in promoting the letter to Blinken. The protest will be at noon, Tuesday, 2666 Riva, Annapolis—parking not a problem. Please join us! Bring signs that say Yes to the Iran Deal: No Preconditions! No Sanctions! Facebook event page for the protest here.
Alternatively, you can join a similar protest Tuesday at 10 am at the Timonium office of Dutch Ruppersberger, who also signed the letter: 375 W. Padonia Rd. Let us know if you intend to go to either of those protests, to help us alert the media.
- We have created an advocacy link to enable you, with one click, to let all four members of Maryland’s House of Representative who signed the letter to Blinken know how you feel about it. Click here.
- Finally, we have created a separate advocacy link to enable you to contact Senators Van Hollen and Cardin, asking them not to sign the Menendez-Graham letter, not to undermine the Biden’s administration’s effort to undo the damage that Trump did.
Please click on the advocacy links—and come to one of the protests on Tuesday!
Thank you for your advocacy for peace—there is so much to be done, and so many people around the world are counting on us.
Jean Athey, Maryland Peace Action
January 22, 2021
Maybe art is the way through. Music? Check out the latest song from Emma’s Revolution, “On a Day in January.” Poetry? Listen once again to our amazing Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman at Wednesday’s inauguration. Or maybe the way through is still good, old-fashioned activism–with art to give us courage.
Today we celebrate a major success of nuclear weapons activists, one that has taken decades, is critically important, and has been ignored by major media outlets in the U.S. and undermined by the U.S. government: the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons enters into force!
The Treaty has been signed by 86 countries and fully ratified by 51. It prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It is legally binding on those nations that ratify it.
But, you ask, how can that matter if those countries that possess nuclear weapons—like our own—do not sign the treaty? Our work is not over, of course. But here are some of the expected effects of the treaty, based on historical experience with treaties that have banned other specific weapons, like chemical and biological ones:
(1) It strengthens the global taboo against the use and possession of nuclear weapons;
(2) It ultimately makes the resources for producing nuclear weapons more difficult to obtain;
(3) Arms companies will find it more difficult to maintain their respectability and to obtain funds to work on these weapons.
Help us celebrate this great victory. Here are three things you can do:
- Contact Johns Hopkins University (JHU): On July 18, 2017, JHU’s Applied Physics Laboratory, a U.S. Navy-affiliated research center, received a seven-year, $92 million contract to continue its systems engineering and research and development services for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. Urge JHU to renounce nuclear weapons contracts. Contact the president, Ron Daniels, at (410) 516-8068 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Johns Hopkins has played a terrific role in the COVID-19 pandemic–something we expect of this great institution–but profiting off immoral and illegal weapons sullies its reputation and directly contradicts its public health mission. Tell Dr. Daniels to reject all nuclear weapons contracts.
- Tell your representatives in Congress that they must advocate for the U.S. to sign and ratify the treaty.
- Find out more: MD Peace Action is cosponsoring what will be a fabulous zoom conference on all things nuclear tomorrow. Jan. 23. It’s free, packed with great speakers and interesting breakouts, and you don’t want to miss it. Register now!
So, drink a toast to the treaty, and then let’s get back to work!
Jean Athey: Maryland Peace Action
We were happy to see that two of Maryland’s representatives were among the 29 Democrats who signed the Pocan/Lee letter: Rep. Jamie Raskin and Rep. John Sarbanes. We urge you to thank them! Maryland’s other 6 representatives need to hear from all of us that increased military spending is not acceptable, that the Pentagon budget needs to be cut—a lot! Click here to contact your representative in the U.S. House.
Thank you for your support. We hope you and your loved ones remain safe during this challenging time.