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Vote Nears on Dangerous Iran Bill: Call Your Rep. Today


From FCNL

The conflict between the U.S. and Iran is reaching a point where it could spiral out of control. In the U.S., Congress and the administration have become more confrontational toward Iran. Iran has done the same and withdrawn further from the international community.

Now, Congress is preparing to add fuel to this fire. Your representative is preparing to vote on legislation that could close off prospects for diplomatic communication between the U.S. and Iran at the very time that such channels are critical for preventing war.

This vote could come as soon as next Tuesday. Please call your representative today at 877-429-0678 and ask her or him to vote "no" on the Iran Threat Reduction Act, H.R. 1905. Enter your zip code to get talking points that reflect whether your member has publicly supported this bill.

Although more than 80 percent of the House has cosponsored this bill, many agreed to support it before the anti-diplomacy provisions were added. Section 601(c) of the bill states:

No person employed with the United States Government may contact in an official or unofficial capacity any person that--(1) is an agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the Government of Iran; and (2) presents a threat to the United States or is affiliated with terrorist organizations.

The president can waive this restriction only with 15 days advance notice to Congress.  In a crisis, U.S. diplomats could find themselves unable to talk to their Iranian counterparts to prevent war from erupting.

The former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several U.S. ambassadors have warned that the lack of diplomatic contact between the U.S. and Iran could lead to war. Former ambassadors Thomas Pickering and William Luers have called the bill "preposterous," noting that it "raises serious constitutional issues over the separation of powers." Former top Middle East intelligence analyst Paul Pillar was highly critical of the bill, saying, "this legislation is another illustration of the tendency to think of diplomacy as some kind of reward for the other guy, rather than what it really is: a tool for our side."

Please call your representative today and urge a "no" vote on H.R. 1905.

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