U.S. return to Iran nuclear deal merits broad support | READER COMMENTARY
For The Baltimore Sun|
Apr 15, 2021 at 1:51 PM
To say I was pleased with the recent commentary, “Biden’s foreign policy challenge: reining in Iran’s nuclear program” (April 13), would be a vast understatement. As a member of Baltimore Peace Action, I and other concerned citizens recognize the importance of convincing President Joe Biden to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Like most everything President Donald Trump did, his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement was disastrous. Iran was in compliance with the agreement which meant it would not become the 10th nuclear weapons country.
Peace Action and so many other groups have been lobbying our senators and representatives to put pressure on President Biden to do the right thing. Then we discovered that several Maryland members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter with Republicans calling on the Biden administration not to re-enter the agreement. We then organized three demonstrations urging our reps to support re-entry. Later, we discovered that Sen. Ben Cardin signed a similar letter. So we held a demonstration outside his Baltimore office and requested a meeting. In response, we were granted a meeting with a foreign policy adviser.
In this meeting, we made three points. First, the nuclear agreement was working and was possibly President Barack Obama’s finest foreign policy achievement. Second, we urged the senator to support lifting President Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran which are harming the people, not the elite. Sanctions on a country during a pandemic are deeply troubling. And third, we explained how we were baffled that the senator would sign a letter with Sen. Lindsey Graham and other Republicans who would not acknowledge that Mr. Biden won the presidential election. The aide was very accommodating, and indicated he would take our concerns to the senator.
Many of us lobbied very hard to convince Senator Cardin in 2015 to vote in favor of President Obama’s deal with Iran. Unfortunately, we failed to convince him. In 2021, we were not surprised that Senator Cardin was going against President Biden’s campaign promise to reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA. However, it shocked us that he would sign a letter with 29 Republican senators. This is not the GOP which once included liberal Republicans. This is Donald Trump’s Republican Party.
There was no need for one of my senators to sign this letter. Mr. Cardin could have simply told the president that he was unwilling to support him on this issue. Instead, he joined with senators from a party that unanimously voted against COVID-19 relief. Those of us in the peace and justice movement will continue to push the president to rejoin this agreement. It benefits everyone as its intent is to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons. I am confident that the Biden administration will see the light and will prevent Iran from going nuclear.