Campaign Report Back

Can the Sanctions: Report Back

It couldn’t be clearer that now is a critical time to speak out against harsh sanctions on Iran. Congress is back in session and they are facing enormous pressure to pass sanctions on Iran, like HR 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009. In today’s Wall Street Journal article “Taking Iran Seriously,” hawks are  promoting both sanctions and urging “Mr. Obama simultaneously to begin preparations for the use of military options.”

At the end of the August recess, Peace Action West supporters went the extra mile and hand delivered a message to their representatives, urging them to oppose these counterproductive sanctions. Representatives who are currently supporting HR 2194 were given a can and a note, asking them to “can the sanctions.” Representatives who have not signed on to the sanctions bill were given a certificate of appreciation and asked to stay strong in opposing counterproductive sanctions that will harm our chances for diplomacy and the people of Iran. These kinds of personal messages from constituents get Congress’ attention and we wanted to share some stories from the deliveries.

Mary delivers a certificate at Rep. Woolsey's office.

Mary delivers a certificate at Rep. Woolsey's office.

Mary went to Rep. Woolsey’s (D-CA) office in San Rafael to deliver a certificate and a message:

…here are the photos of my visit to Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s San Rafael office yesterday.  The district director was in the Santa Rosa office, but a very gracious staffer, I believe her name is Claudia, accepted the award….

I told her I have supported the work of Peace Action West for many years (actually about 15) and that we appreciate Rep. Woolsey’s support for peace and a sane foreign policy.  I emphasized the importance of standing up against the push in congress for sanctions against Iran at this critical time.

Craig delivers a can to a staff person in Rep. Linda Sanchez's office.

Craig delivers a can to a staff person in Rep. Linda Sanchez's office.

Craig in Southern California shared this story about his delivery to Rep. Napolitano (D-CA):

I dropped the “Can the Sanctions” can off at Rep. Napolitano’s office this afternoon. I met with Benjamin Cardenas her District Director. I told him I was disappointed with her co-sponsorship of the bill. I said that Napolitano has always been supportive of peace issues in the past and that she actually received a 100% rating last year on issues important to Peace Action West. I told him we would like her keep her 100% rating. I also dropped off a letter and had a picture taken…. I also put some Hershey Kisses in the can. I told Ben that despite this one issue Napolitano does a great job and I wanted to sweeten the criticism a little.

Steve in Lakewood, California first called his representative’s office to find out her position on sanctions, but when he didn’t hear back, he headed to Rep. Linda Sanchez’s local office:

So I went to her office and took both the ‘thank you certificate’ and the ‘can the sanctions’ note with my personal opinion that it would be an act of violence and aggression to do such a thing.

Later, to my dismay, I discovered that she’s listed as a supporter of the Act. So a little while ago, I called and left a message saying that I was surprised that she would support this. In my message I said that this act would be viewed as a dangerous act of aggression, and would lead to a terrible division between our people and our governments.

A number of other deliveries took place across the western states. In Nevada, Connie delivered a certificate to Rep. Dean Heller’s  (R-NV) district director. In Southern California, Zohreh dropped off a certificate at Rep. David Dreier’s office (R-CA). Connie visited Rep. Eshoo’s office (D-CA) and delivered a can, reading the message and talking with one of the staff about why she felt sanctions would be harmful. Pat in Arizona visited Rep. Trent Franks’ (R-AZ) office, leaving behind a can and “telling him I did not see any good reason for sanctions.” Lindsay and Lydia teamed up to deliver a certificate of appreciation to Sen. Feinstein’s office in Los Angeles for not supporting the Senate’s version of this sanctions legisltation.

Want to share your story? Leave a comment below and let us know how your “can the sanctions” delivery went.

2 replies »

  1. Thanks Cara for this important report. This is certainly an uphill battle. HR 2194 already has more than 300 co-sponsors in the House. Howard Berman, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, who earlier this year delayed the vote, has recently said that he will allow this bill to go forward. the obama administration is not saying if it will support or oppose the bill (so some may see this as the glass half-full or half-empty… glad to see that the administration is not supporting it, or concerned that its lack of opposition will allow it to prevail and may even support it in the near-future). This legislation, and the overall strategy of punitive sanctions that will undermine diplomacy and make war more likely (the obvious goal of many of its proponents) demands a massive mobilization of the peace community. Let’s get on the Streets.

  2. The news from Congress, especially that Rep. Berman is considering moving the sanctions legislation forward, is definitely disappointing. I was happy to see this morning that the US has actually accepted Iran’s offer to talk, even though Iran does not want its nuclear program to be on the table. A good first step forward considering the fact that we haven’t had official diplomatic relations in about 30 years.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/11/AR2009091102750.html