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January 28, 2014

The Left and the Iran Lobby Get Hysterical about the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act: Don't Believe their Lies

Dear Friend of FLAME:

Amazingly enough, the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act (NWFIA) of 2013-2014 has 59 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate---strong, bipartisan, majority support of a measure that President Obama opposes

What's bizarre is that the NWFIA supports every point the President has insisted on in his negotiations with Iran: Namely that any agreement will stop Iran's nuclear weapons development---and have teeth---and no new sanctions will be imposed if Iran complies. What's not to love?

No surprise: The pro-Iran lobby also opposes the act . . . and distressingly, so do Mr. Obama's stalwart allies in the liberal media, such as The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. They believe the NWFIA will scare off those kind, well-meaning Iranian mullahs!

Maddow---echoed by other left-leaning media organizations---has represented this well-reasoned and well-supported safeguard legislation as a choice between war and peace.  According to Maddow, if you support this act, you support a ground war in Iran, if you oppose the act, you support a diplomatic solution to a nuclear-weaponized Iran.  Simple. And false.

The truth is quite the contrary. The NWFIA, which was drafted by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-Oregon), is precisely designed to strengthen diplomatic efforts to convince Iran to cease its development of weapons-grade nuclear fuel.

Here, briefly, are the provisions of the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act currently before the Senate, and why you should immediately urge your Senators, if they haven't already, to sign on as co-sponsors.

No new sanctions . . . unless: Allows the President to suspend any new sanctions against Iran for up to a year while negotiations proceed

Possibly postpone new sanctions longer: Allows the President to further suspend new sanctions for specified periods of time

Reinstatement of sanctions: Requires sanctions to be reimposed should Iran fail to abide by agreements reached with international negotiators

Allows Congress to disapprove: Permits Congress to express disagreement should the President suspend sanctions

Further oil sanctions against Iran: Imposes new penalties on countries that fail to reduce their oil purchases from Iran eventually to zero

Imposes additional sanctions: New sanctions target strategic sectors of Iran's economy: shipbuilding, mining, construction, and engineering

Tightens financial sanctions: Imposes new penalties for banks that facilitate hard currency transactions with sanctioned Iranian banks

New sanctions on human rights violators: Specifies new Iranian officials subject to sanctions for corruption, diverting humanitarian aid or helping Iran evade sanctions

Outlines acceptable qualities of a final agreement: Requires Iran to discontinue all development of weapons-grade nuclear materials, abide by six previous U.N. resolutions, and permit continuous 24/7 inspection of suspected Iranian nuclear facilities

In short, the NWFIA deserves your support and that of your state's Senators.  The act almost has a filibuster-proof majority (needs 60), and with eight more co-sponsors (needs 67 total), the President cannot veto it, as he threatens to do.

Now is the time to urge your Senators to support this important legislation.

Here's a list of Senators who have (and have not) yet signed on to NWFIA as co-sponsors.  Here's a link that gives you contact info for your state's Senators.  Please call and email your Senators now, letting them know you support Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act and asking them to co-sponsor it.

If you run into misguided friends and colleagues who oppose the NWFIA, this week's FLAME Hotline article will help you: It mercilessly exposes the lies being told on Capitol Hill about the NWFIA, particularly by the pro-Iran lobby.

Please review and pass this fact-based analysis to your friends and colleagues. Help us inform U.S. citizens about the urgent need for NWFIA, and ask them to contact their Senators as well.

Thanks for your support of FLAME and of Israel!

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Vice President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)

P.S.

FLAME has been spreading the truth about Iran's threat---to Israel, the U.S. and the world---for several years now. To get the word out, FLAME created and published a hasbarah (public relations) message---"The Deadly Threat of a Nuclear-Armed Iran: What can the world, what can the USA, what can Israel do about it?"---in media reaching 10 million readers. This piece remains as relevant today as it was when it was originally published. I hope you'll review this powerful position paper and pass it on to all your contacts who will benefit from this message. If you agree that FLAME's bold brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support our publication of such outspoken messages. Please consider giving donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

Fact Check: New Iran Sanctions Bill is a Vote for Diplomacy over War
By TheTower.org Staff. www.thetower.org, January 8, 2014

Earlier today, the pro-Iran lobby NIAC (National American Iranian Council) issued a misleading policy memo containing a number of false statements about the bipartisan Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, currently cosponsored by more than half of the U.S. Senate.  Get the facts here.

NIAC Myth #1: The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 violates the terms of the first phase nuclear agreement by imposing new sanctions on Iran. 

Fact Check: The legislation does not violate the Joint Plan of Action; to the contrary, the legislation supports our diplomacy, enforces the Joint Plan of Action, and codifies the Obama Administration and Iran's own commitments under the agreement.  As long as Iran negotiates in good faith during the months ahead, no new nuclear-related sanctions will be imposed.  The President and Secretary Kerry have repeatedly said the United States would reimpose sanctions on Iran should Iran violate the terms of the interim agreement or fail to reach a final agreement within the discernible time frame. That is exactly what The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act says and would do.

NIAC Myth #2: The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 blocks a final deal by dictating insurmountable demands, including zero-enrichment.

Fact Check: The legislation establishes minimum standards for a final nuclear agreement in order to preclude Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  If NIAC is opposed to the minimum standards for a final agreement in the bill, NIAC is opposed to: 1) precluding Iran from developing nuclear weapons; 2) requiring strict international inspections of all suspect Iranian facilities; and 3) bringing Iran into compliance with UN Security Council resolutions.  NIAC's position is extreme.  If the P5+1 fails to meet these basic minimum standards in any final agreement with Iran, the world would be left with a dangerous and untenable circumstance that enables Iran to build nuclear weapons any moment it chooses making war and the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East more likely, not less.

NIAC Myth #3: The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 removes the President's authority to lift sanctions. 

Fact CheckExactly the opposite is true.  Without the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, the President has no authority to suspend statutory sanctions other than by exercising the four to six-month national security waivers provided in the underlying sanctions laws. Under current law, the President can only lift sanctions if Iran dismantles its entire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons infrastructure, halts and dismantles its ballistic missile programs and halts its sponsorship of terrorism.   This legislation allows the President to bypass current law and suspend certain sanctions under a final nuclear agreement.

NIAC Myth #4: The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 weakens presidential waiver authority for U.S. allies and risks unraveling multilateral sanctions. 

Fact Check: To the contrary, this legislation is critical to keeping the international sanctions regime intact. For the first time in years, due to the sanctions relief provided in the interim agreement, the global market psychology regarding sanctions has shifted from an expectation of ever-increasing sanctions to an expectation of further sanctions relief.  Without legislation making it clear that sanctions will return if Iran violates the interim agreement or fails to reach a final deal, international firms will race to re-enter the Iranian market and further stabilize the Iranian economy.  In effect, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act will save the international sanctions coalition, not fracture it. This tired NIAC argument against sanctions has been trotted out time and again to oppose past congressional sanctions legislation, including the current sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran. In the end, these arguments have proven totally false time and again. International firms with business interests in the United States will never risk their access to America's $16 trillion economy to preserve limited trade opportunities with Iran's $550 billion economy.

NIAC Myth #5: The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 pledge U.S. military support for an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear program. 

Fact CheckThe legislation does not in any way, directly or indirectly, authorize the use of force.  Section 405 of the bill explicitly states that nothing in the legislation may be construed as an authorization for the use of force.  What's more, the non-binding language in the bill expressing the "sense of Congress" regarding the danger of Iran's nuclear program and American support for Israel already passed the Senate 99-0 on May 22, 2013 in Senate Resolution 65.  Yes, you read that correctly.

NIAC Myth #6: The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 empowers Iranian hardliners committed to blocking a nuclear deal and any progress on Iranian human rights.

Fact Check: In a country where the only decision-maker is the Supreme Leader, this concept of hardliners versus others is without merit.  In fact, the argument itself is a deceitful attempt to suggest that, for instance, the current President of Iran, someone who has been linked to terrorism, assassination, repression, human rights abuses, and bragged of deceiving the West by dragging out nuclear negotiations, is actually some kind of "moderate" actor, a concept which in the context of the regime in Tehran has no meaning.  With regard to human rights, the legislation urges the President to continue imposing sanctions against the Iranian regime for its abuse of Iranian human rights.  Iranian leaders know that if they walk away from the negotiating table, not only do they lose the sanctions relief provided in the interim agreement, Congress would have no reason to delay the imposition of new sanctions for up to one year (as the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act would do).

Instead, Congress would impose these sanctions immediately. By some estimates, these additional sanctions, targeting Iran's oil exports, foreign exchange reserves and strategic sectors of the Iranian economy, would cost the regime a minimum of $55 billion per year.  A recent economic analysis by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Roubini Global Economics estimates that new sanctions could precipitate a major trade shock that leads to a significant depreciation of Iran's currency, which will fuel inflation and asset bubbles, force fiscal austerity, and send Iran back into a deep recession.

Given the choice between keeping current sanctions relief, and staving off new sanctionsfor up to one year, versus losing current sanctions relief and sending Iran's economy into free fall, it is not logical to assume the Iranians will walk away from negotiations if Congress passes the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act.

Just a few weeks ago, following an announcement of new sanctions designations by the Treasury Department, Iran recalled its negotiators to Tehran in protest only to return to the negotiating table a few days later.

As the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently observed, the echoing of Tehran's propaganda and threats by their allies in Washington does not make such claims true. In fact, it is a reminder of why the credibility of such assertions and those who purvey them is deeply suspect.

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