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Sun Feb 16, 2014, 07:10 AM

How Iraq Vets against War & Peace Groups stopped Senate bid to derail Iran Talks


How Iraq Vets against War & Peace Groups stopped Senate bid to derail Iran Talks
By Juan Cole | Feb. 16, 2014
(By Robert Clack)

In 2013, an unprecedented diplomatic breakthrough happened when the United States and Iran, along with other world powers, reached an interim agreement to lift sanctions over a long-standing dispute regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Not content with allowing for peace, on December 19th New Jersey Senator Menendez (D) and Senator Kirk (R), supported by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), introduced Senate Bill 1881 in an attempt to derail peace negotiations and set the stage for potential war with Iran. Despite successful negotiations, the bill called for more sanctions and for the United States to support Israel militarily in the event they decided to take military action on the country.

Press slowly began to circulate on the left about AIPAC efforts, raising questions about what kind of stand the anti-war left is taking on Iran. By late December the bi-partisan bill had gained 26 sponsors.

Upset by Senator Mark Kirk’s chief sponsorship and by the prospects of another potential war, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War-Chicago sprung into action. “It’s important to lead by example, to step up to the occasion and the threat of war,” said Navy Veteran and IVAW member Michael Applegate. “Our organization is about stopping war.”

In the midst of the holiday lull, 48 hours' notice, and a climate change polar vortex winter, IVAW Chicago was able to turn out two dozen protesters to a frozen New Year’s Day picket at Senator Kirk’s office with the message of “Don’t Ruin the New Year with War on Iran.”

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