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150 Members of Congress to Biden: Return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran Nuclear Deal)

December 24, 2020

John Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif named winners of the Chatham House Prize 2016 for the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran Nuclear Deal)

Could it be a moment to halt the drift – or is it a stampede? – towards Middle East War and put the United States on path towards Middle East peace, not just with Iran, but for a reduction of tensions throughout the region. War with Iran – which is where Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign is headed would have devastating consequences not just for Iran but for American allies in the region with global consequences.

Why play with that fire?

What a fine way to begin the New Year by working for Middle East peace by the United States and Iran returning to the Joint Comprehesive Plan of Action (the Iran Nuclear deal)!

At a time when Donald Trump is doing everything to complicate the incoming Biden presidency – and his lethal antics are far from over – the President-elect is going to have his head filled with domestic woes so knotted up as to defy definition, no less addressing.

One thing that Biden can do – and has suggested he will do – to ease international tensions so as to better concentrate on deconstructing the domestic gridlock he’s inherited – is to return to the United States to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – otherwise known as the Iran Nuclear Deal – as it was agreed upon in 2015 by all participants (China,Iran, Russia, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union) and to do so without piling on new conditions.

This would permit Biden to concentrate on “flattening the curve” and ultimately defeating the Coronavirus pandemic, on reviving the flagging U.S. economy made worse by Trump Administration polices – and non-policies and in reviving American commitment to international cooperation instead of Trum’s “going-it-alone-American-first” nonsense.

At the heart of that 2015 agreement, given approval by the United Nationsl Security Council – Iran would severely limit its production of enriched nuclear materials in exchange for the United States and the Europeans lifting sanctions against Iran.

A Congressional letter signed by 150 members of the House of Representatives was released yesterday, December 23, 2020, calling on the Biden Administration to do precisely that. Among the signators are four representatives from Colorado – Jason Crow, Diana De Gette, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter. In its opening paragraph:

With respect to Iran, we agree that diplomacy is the best path to halt and reverse Iran’s nuclear program, decrease tensions in the region, and facilitate our nation’s reincorporation into the international community. We are united in our support for swiftly taking the necessary diplomatic steps to restore constraints on Iran’s nuclear program and return both Iran and the United States to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a starting point for further negotiations.

Although not a main focus of the presidential campaign, Joe Biden has noted support for returning to the JCPOA. In response, Iran’s President Hasan Rouhani has stated that should the United States return to the Iran Nuclear Deal, that Iran would do so within an hour and that no negotiations were needed to restore the deal. It could be done with a simple executive order.

Encouraging the Biden Administration to return to the JCPOA without renegotiating the agreement will be an uphill battle despite the Congressional support. Many members of his new  foreuign policy team are former architects of recent Middle East wars and strong supporters of sanctions against Iran. Given the opposition to returning to the agreement by AIPAC, neo-conservative elements strong in the Administration as well as groups like John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, widespread public support for the U.S. returning to the agreement is a pre-requisite for Biden taking the lead on this. He won’t do it unless he feels a strong wind behind his back.

A strong peace campaign is needed.

With this in mind, on January 21, a coalition of organizations here in Colorado – including the state chapters of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, J-Street, the National Iranian-American Council and others, under the recently formed umbrella of Colorado Citizens Concerned With the JCPOA and Middle East Peace – will hold a “Zoom Conference-Seminar” on the subject. (see Colorado Citizens Concerned with the JCPOA and Middle East Peace Facebook page for more information).

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