Sample Op-Ed Letter
This text is available for submission as an op-ed or as a template or source of ideas for an individualized op-ed. It is also recommended as a letter or better yet, a hand-delivered document, to U.S. senators and congressional representatives, both those identified as more AIPAC-dependent on the list provided and those leaning our way already who need strong arguments to support their position on the floor of Congress and to persuade their constituents.
America, Iran and International Law
As members of Veterans for Peace, we oppose sanctions, covert acts of sabotage, military attack and threats of attack against Iran, all of which represent violations of international law, a legal structure we regard as the necessary foundation for world peace. Iran has neither attacked nor threatened the United States and is not historically an aggressive state in modern times, having invaded and occupied no other state for over 250 years.
Despite misrepresentations we hear in the lobby-controlled mass media, Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), allows regular inspections of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency, has explicitly renounced nuclear weapons, and agreed in March 2012 to six-party talks and permission for IAEA inspectors to visit its key military research site. However, although we recognize the right of Iran under the NPT to develop nuclear technology for peaceful energy production, in a post-Fukushima world we would prefer to see all countries including our own replace nuclear energy sources with clean, safe, renewable energy technologies.
Numerous retired U.S. military general staff have publicly stated that Iran poses no threat to the United States unless attacked by us or by Israel with our support, in which case retaliation would be likely and could launch grave and unpredictable consequences. The United Nations Charter calls upon countries to base their relationships upon “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.” All sovereign nations in compliance with international law, including Iran, are entitled to freedom from covert or overt aggression or interference with their internal affairs by other states.
Both the U.S. and Israel are members of the UN and signatories to its charter enshrining these principles established following World War II when preemptive or preventive war was judged “the supreme international crime” by the Nuremberg Tribunal. The United Nations Charter prohibits “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” principles violated by U.S. and Israeli threats to attack Iran and efforts to intimidate the Iranian people with threats of attack.
We are therefore disturbed by the powerful pressures to attack Iran or to support an Israeli attack exerted by Israel and its U.S. lobby, especially during this political election season when lobby-directed campaign funds are perceived as critical, and we urge our government to respect its treaty obligations and international law and not yield to this potentially disastrous influence. We reject the self-declared right of Israel — a state with a known but unacknowledged and formidable nuclear arsenal that has refused to sign the NPT or allow IAEA inspections despite a formal IAEA request in September 2009 — to dictate nuclear conditions to any other state.
As American citizens who have seen U.S.-supported police states abroad, we regret the suffering caused to the Iranian people by covert U.S. operations in 1953 that deposed Iran’s democratically elected president, Mohammed Mossadeq, and subsequently installed Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi who subjected the Iranian people to 25 years under a brutal police state. Although not well-known among Americans, this shameful history of U.S. interference with Iranian self-government has not been forgotten in Iran and contributes to their distrust of us. We owe them apologies, not threats.
Sadly, our government has interfered on numerous occasions before in the affairs of other states in violation of the UN Charter, most recently in the Muslim world, and we decry the suffering now caused to the Iranian people by U.S. trade and banking sanctions that have been unnecessarily, unjustly and illegally imposed.
Many arrogant Americans deny our responsibility to comply with international law unless it suits our presumed self-interest. But the U.N. Charter is a treaty obligation of the United States, and Article VI of the United States Constitution defines our treaty obligations as “the Supreme Law of the Land.” Living in a law-abiding world is very much in our self-interest, and we must demand that our own country and any ally we support adheres to the rule of law and respects treaty agreements if we expect others to do so.
From these positions grounded in the U.N. Charter and U.S. Constitution, we unequivocally condemn economic sanctions against Iran, U.S. and Israeli governments’ threats of military attack upon Iran, and any U.S. government support of Israel in preparing or launching such an attack.