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Iran deal fails to address Syrian crisis

As a human rights activist, I spend most of my free time raising awareness about the mass atrocities and crimes against humanity occurring in Syria. My work has allowed me to develop relationships with Syrian activists inside and outside of Syria. Recently, I returned from a trip to Turkey and Jordan. In Turkey, I was in a city close to the Syrian border. In Jordan, I participated in a medical humanitarian mission trip to Zaatari refugee camp. This was my second mission trip to Jordan.

Many of the people I spoke with, and speak to, feel discarded and abandoned by countries who preach justice and respect. They are right. The international community has failed to exert the requisite pressure to end the mass atrocities and crimes against humanity that continue to displace and kill the Syrian people by the thousands. Iran has enabled Syrian President Bashar Assad's ability to kill, maim, and psychologically and physically torture the Syrian people with barrel bombs, chemical weapons, starvation and rape.

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the Syrian conflict is "the most urgent security issue in the world today." U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power has called it "the worst humanitarian crisis of this generation." Unfortunately, much of the narrative supporting the Iran deal ignores Iran's role in Syria. We have been presented with a false choice: war or this deal. Can we honestly say a regime that's supporting the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation and enabling so much death and destruction will live up to the commitments in the nuclear deal? Iran should have been pressured into demonstrating its willingness to be a good actor by, for example, ceasing its military support for the Assad regime.

The administration must go back to the negotiating table. The Syrian people deserve it and our humanity demands it. Therefore, I ask that the Maryland congressional delegation vote against the Iran deal. We cannot continue to sacrifice the Syrian people to Mr. Assad's barbarism, funded by Iran.

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Darren Fenwick, Silver Spring,

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