US’s Posture on Iran is misleading and aggressive
A preemptive US or Israeli attack on Iran would be wrong, ILLEGAL and unacceptable
Dear Representatives and Senators,
We are alarmed at the increasingly misleading and aggressive rhetoric employed by US elected officials and certain administration spokespersons on the subject of Iran. No less disturbing are Israel’s posturing and repeated threats to launch a preemptive attack on Iran. Such an attack would be a violation of international law.
By law, the locus of international conflict resolution lies within the United Nations.
Article 2(4) of the UN Charter states that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” 
The US is a founding member of the UN and has adopted the UN Charter by treaty.
The US has an obligation to the international community to operate within the Charter framework.
The US should unambiguously insist that its allies do the same, especially those that receive substantial military assistance from US taxpayers and/or purchase weapons from US arms manufacturers.
Any attack on Iran by Israel, by the US, or by neighbors of Iran that is not approved by the UN is illegal under international law, absent an imminent threat.
When US politicians assert that “everything is on the table,” they irresponsibly suggest that the US should consider a breach of international law.
Beyond the flagrant illegality of a non-UN sanctioned attack on Iran, reckless declarations regarding the need for such an attack in no way match what is known about actual conditions in Iran.
Consider the following:
1. As specified by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT), to which Iran (unlike Israel) is a signatory, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has had regular access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and has not formally found Iran to be in violation of the NNPT.
2. Similarly, the US intelligence establishment has not found Iran to be currently developing a nuclear weapon, or even making a decision to do so in the future. The last declassified US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in 2007 concluded that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program. Reporting by Seymour Hersh indicates no conclusive change in judgment in the 2011 NIE, which remains classified.
3. The latest IAEA report on Iran issued in November 2011 has been widely misrepresented in the press. Contrary to spurious claims by careless journalists and pundits, the report says that the agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material and does not indicate a determination that Iran is in violation of the NNTP.
The report does list some “possible” areas of “concern” related to activities that could be “relevant” to the development of nuclear weapons.
But, there has been much skepticism regarding the weapons-related allegations included in the IAEA report. Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and a former director at the IAEA, has written of having a “sickly sense of déjà vu,” recalling the erroneous, low-grade or falsified intelligence or interpretations of intelligence used to justify military intervention in Iraq. 
The IAEA also does express concern about Iran’s choosing not to follow the “Additional Protocol,” a voluntary protocol meant to boost IAEA’s ability to detect undeclared nuclear activities. However, it should be noted that other nuclear non-weapons states have also chosen not to follow this voluntary protocol and do not face similar scrutiny. Moreover, there are clear indications that Iran would formally adopt the “Additional Protocol” under negotiated conditions, and in fact has done so voluntarily in the past. It stands to reason that concerns about the “Addition Protocol” could be achieved peacefully and practically through negotiation.
4. The mainstream press has also mischaracterized Iran’s responsiveness to negotiated proposals. For example, Brazil and Turkey, with President Obama’s initial support, negotiated a plausible solution to storage of Iran’s nuclear fuel that was very similar to previous proposals advanced by the P5+1 (permanent members of the Security Council — China, Russia, the UK, the US, and France — plus Germany). Iran signed an agreement with Brazil and Turkey, but the plan was then rejected by the US, despite the fact that the agreement was based on a framework designed by the Obama administration.
5. The officers of the Washington-based, nonpartisan Arms Control Association, while sharing concerns found in the IAEA report, strongly advocate against military intervention. In their assessment, military strikes would actually “convince Iran’s leadership to openly pursue nuclear weapons” and “would result in costly long-term consequences for U.S. and regional security and the U.S. and global economy.” 
. . .
We call on you, our representatives, to work toward earnest strategies focused on peace-making, which should be the primary US foreign policy, not an afterthought. The US played an instrumental role in the formation of United Nations institutions. It is time to work within that institution in a way that is focused on peaceful conflict resolution.
Should the question of armed intervention or “police action” arise, we strongly urge you, as our representatives, to insist on prior congressional authorization for the use of military force, as specified clearly in the US Constitution — and then, in compliance with the UN Charter, to work to deny that authorization in the absence of imminent threat.
The president circumvented the Constitution and Congress shirked its constitutional obligation regarding the recent intervention in Libya. It’s high time to remember and use the powers accorded Congress by the framers of the Constitution. The framers underscored the importance of public deliberation and therefore institutionalized this crucial check on the power of the executive. The framers clearly placed in Congress the power to declare war — and, conversely, to resolutely withhold such a declaration in the absence of a legal justification.
Finally, another power of Congress — the power of the purse — could be brought to bear to dissuade Israel from striking Iran and potentially dragging the US into another misguided conflict in the Middle East.
We ask you to exercise your powers to the extent possible to pursue peaceful conflict resolution.
Thank you for your consideration,
Peace Action Montgomery
Montgomery County, Maryland
This letter was sent to Montgomery County-based Representatives and Maryland Senators (Rep. Donna F. Edwards, Rep. Christopher Van Hollen, Jr., Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski)
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Find these links here:
 UN Charter
 US National intelligence estimate, November 2007
 Seymour Hersh, “Iran and the Bomb, How real is the nuclear threat?”
(See for summary of 2007, 2011 National Intelligence Estimates)
 Robert Kelley, “Nuclear Arms Charge Against Iran Is No Slam Dunk”
 Today’s Zaman, Ankara, “Brazil reveals Obama letter in spat over Iran nuclear deal” (May, 29 2010)
 Peter Crail, Daryl Kimball, Greg Thielmann, “The IAEA’s Iran Report: Assessment and Implications”
FURTHER READING / RESOURCES
Yousaf Butt, “Stop the Madness.” Foreign Policy (January 19, 2012)
Muhammad Sahimi, “Iranophobia and the Hysteria over Tehran’s Nuclear Program”
Muhammad Sahimi, “The IAEA Report on Iran’s Nuclear Program: Alarming or Hyped?”
IAEA, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran”
The Guardian, June 8, 2011, Five former European Abassadors to Iran: Iran is not in breach of international law.
Christian Science Monitor, “NPT 101: Is Iran violating the nuclear treaty?”
Parisa Hafezi, “Turkey, Brazil seal deal on Iran nuclear fuel swap”
BBC, “Obama to pursue UN sanctions despite Iran nuclear deal” (May, 19 2010)
Scott Ritter, former UN arms inspector, MSNBC interview, Sept. 29, 2009