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Senator Debbie Stabenow’s Response to Open Letter – Iran Deal

September 23, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

From: United States Senate 

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow debbie-stabenow-web

To: manrastani@yahoo.com

September 22, 2015


Dear Mansur,

Thank you for contacting me about the Iran nuclear accord.   This has been a complicated and very serious issue to resolve in my own mind. I greatly appreciate your thoughts and views.

I have repeatedly supported strong sanctions, backed by the international community, to pressure Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program. Those sanctions have succeeded in isolating the Iranian regime, crippling their economy, and forcing them to the negotiating table. But sanctions by themselves have not stopped Iran’s nuclear program. In 2003, Iran had just 164 centrifuges for a nuclear weapon. Today, they have over 19,000 and have the capacity to acquire enough nuclear material to build a nuclear weapon by the end of this year.

This is a dangerous regime that kidnaps Americans such as Michigan’s Amir Hekmati, who needs to be released immediately, and sends weapons and other support to Hezbollah and other terrorists who seek to destroy the United States, Israel, and our other allies.

The only thing worse than Iran being the largest state sponsor of terrorism would be Iran as the largest state sponsor of terrorism with a nuclear weapon.   That’s why getting this right is essential for the security of America, Israel and the entire Middle East.

I have had extensive classified and unclassified briefings, extensive discussions with our U.S. negotiators and leaders from every country involved in negotiating this agreement. I have met with leaders representing the current Israeli government as well as former military and civilian Israeli leaders. And, I have heard from so many people in Michigan, with passionate feelings on both sides of this critical issue.

I have determined that the imminent threat of Iran having a nuclear weapon outweighs any flaws I see in the international agreement. For this reason, I must support the agreement.

For me, the decision comes down to this: without this international agreement, Iran will have enough nuclear material for a weapon in three months. With this agreement, and the international coalition committed to it, we have the opportunity to stop Iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon, certainly for at least 25 years.

I completely understand the deep fear and emotion involved in this debate.   When Iranian extremist leaders chant ‘death to America’ and ‘death to Israel,’ the first question we have is ‘how in the world can we trust them to live up to an agreement?’ The answer is: we cannot. That is why this agreement is not based on trust in any way. It’s based on strict inspections and verification coupled with the fact that America keeps all of our current options, including military action, if Iran in any way continues down the path of creating a nuclear weapon.

Under the agreement, Iran must reduce their stockpile of low enriched uranium by 98 percent and the number of centrifuges from over 19,000 to 6,104 with those centrifuges only being allowed to be used for medical research or other peaceful purposes. Iran will be subject to an intrusive inspections regime under continuous monitoring. If Iran violates this agreement in any way, America will know about it and be able to snap sanctions back into place.

And critically important to me, we will have additional information about the movement of uranium and component parts needed to make nuclear weapons for at least 25 years.

Again, most importantly, if Iran tries to develop a nuclear weapon, the United States continues to have every option on the table, including military action.

I do share concerns about parts of the agreement, including how Iran could use funds from sanctions relief to continue funding Hezbollah and other terrorists around the world.   It is clear that they have been funding these activities despite the crippling sanctions.   And we are right to be concerned that additional funds from sanctions relief, or any other sources from other countries if this agreement is not approved, could be used to continue these outrageous activities.

That is why it is critical that the White House and Congress redouble our efforts to stop Iran’s support for terrorism in addition to this crucial and essential effort to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.     I strongly support strengthening our sanctions on terrorism and human rights violations, with more aggressive targeting and enforcement; tracking any new spending on Iran’s non-nuclear activities from new sources; and ensuring that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge.

This agreement is not perfect, but I have personally spoken to leaders representing the P5+1 countries and the European Union who have said quite clearly that if the United States rejects this agreement, they will not join in new negotiations for a better deal. Instead, I believe that other countries will lift their sanctions on Iran, and the United States will be isolated in the international community.

And, regrettably, it is clear to me that other countries will no longer trust our great country to negotiate and work with them in good faith.

So America must choose between the following: an international coalition working together to stop a nuclear Iran while increasing our joint efforts to stop their non-nuclear terrorist activities, or no international effort, no surveillance, no accountability and a nuclear Iran within a few months.

By agreeing to this deal, the international community will continue to be united against Iranian aggression. And if they violate the agreement and we need to use military force, the international community will be with us, rather than against us.

A final note: I am deeply concerned that national security decisions and foreign policy have become highly-charged partisan issues, including our relationship with our long-time friend and democratic ally, Israel.

I’m reminded of a very distinguished and highly-honored Republican U.S. Senator from Michigan, Arthur Vandenberg, who once said, ‘politics stops at the water’s edge.’   He was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 1940s and an ardent opponent of President Franklin Roosevelt’s domestic policies.   Senator Vandenberg set the Congressional standard of patriotism and statesmanship for over 70 years in our country.  I am committed to continuing his legacy on behalf of the people of our great State.

Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue. Please continue to share your views on issues of concern to you and your family.


Debbie Stabenow

United States Senator



Open Letter Dated August 31, 2015

Dear Congressman,

As you are aware, on July 14, 2015, US administration along with other international members of the P5+1 group reached the Iran nuclear agreement, referred to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

This agreement permits the regime to keep far more nuclear-related capacity than it would need if it were interested only in peaceful civil application of the nuclear program. Also the entire exercise of negotiating with Iranian government is flawed given that it relies too much on trust of the regime. Obama’s logic that Iranian regime is deterrable and “alternative to Iran deal is war” are misleading. Iranian regime is a criminal state because time after time it commits crime against humanity, domestically and transnationally. The nuclear agreement provides the theocratic regime with extensive relief from economic sanctions, which will fuel the regime’s ability to support its dangerous proxies throughout the Middle East.  It would be the turning point for the regime to resume its expansionist regional project, inspired by the Iranian constitution’s preamble stating Iran must spread its Islamic revolution. This means the Middle East will witness the spread of even further chaos and hostilities throughout the whole region. The IRI constitution de facto proclaims the ideological mission of Jihad; any deal that ignores the purpose of the regime’s bellicosity will not only be unsuccessful but will endanger the regional and global security. Negotiation with terrorists doesn’t prevent war, it just delays it, which is why the protocol clearly emphasizes “you don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

More importantly, the agreement fails to hold the authoritarian regime accountable for its egregious human rights record in Iran, the P5+1 has literally turned blind eye to the regime’s horrors faced by the Iranian people.  The regime has sought to cast an image of “moderation” after Hassan Rouhani was selected as President. In point of fact, Iran’s human rights situation has only gotten worse, Amnesty International reports indicates that the Iranian government has had the highest rate of execution over the last couple of years, since its establishment in 1979. US Policy makers should not forget that the Iranian people, who are the main target of the regime’s human rights abuses, should be considered as the main stakeholders in these nuclear talks.

The voice of Iranian civic movements inside and outside Iran has never gained the world leaders’ attention and their political patronage. These leaders have never borne in mind providing moral boost to the democracy-promoting political forces of Iran, neither have they shown political support for the tens and hundreds of protests of the Iranian people around the world. During the bloody national uprising of the Iranian people in 2009, Obama was busy writing secret appeasing letters to the criminal leader of the Mullahs’ regime, who has stifled the spreading national discontent in the country for decades. Obama’s administration has on numerous occasions assured the mullahs’ regime that US will not pursue regime change in Iran. The theocratic regime sees that its survival is not threatened, no matter what it does. It sees, as does everyone else, that transgressions are, in fact, rewarded. These unnecessary and unjustified remarks, while have given a new life to the regime’s despotic rulers, have sucked the positive energy out of the Iranian dissidents.

The liberal sector of the Iranian populace, whose number have dramatically been increasing during the last three decades, have been in defiance of the theocracy establishment covertly and overtly from the get go that the Islamic regime came to power. They are seeking a secular democratic government based on the principles of human rights. Today it has been the focus of much concern and criticism from the Iranian grassroots regarding the pact that Obama has made with the regime’s mullahs while ignoring the voice of the oppressed people of Iran on the agreement that is an implication of his endorsement of the regime’s dreadful human rights record at home and its active sponsorship of terrorism beyond the border.

However, US should know that the authoritarian regime’s attempts in silencing the Iranian dissidents and restricting their freedom cannot carry on for long and would ultimately fail. The timing is ripe, Iran’s economy has been going to sink and the regime’s hold on power has increasingly becoming unstable. The power of inner freedom has given the dissidents the courage to cross the line from living in fear and reaching the point to question the enemy of their liberty. They know that they will eventually prevail in altering the geopolitical equation surrounding the destiny of their country to their own favor. The regime has never been so vulnerable; its leaders fear the alliance and consensus of the Iranian people more than any foreign threat.

There is a vital need for a regime change in Iran, the free world must respond, the leaders of free world have to listen more closely to Iran’s dissidents. They must not ignore the insights of the Iranian grassroots, which remind them that dictators in particular of theocratic ones are not their strategic allies and are certainly not guarantors of long-term stability, it is the peaceful, secular, and democratic people of Iran that they need to rely on and truly align with in order to ensure the regional and global safety, security, and prosperity.

“People of Iran” is the only right alternative to Iran dilemma. This deal and any cooperative engagement with the terrorist mullahs’ regime should be stopped. The imposition of smart political and economic sanctions that target and paralyze the nuts and bolts of the leadership structure of the Iranian regime, not the populace, should be intensified. Concurrent political support and material for the struggle of dissidents, logistically and strategically, would be the next essential step to put an end to the life of the blood-sucking regime of IRI by the hands of the Iranian dissidents.

On behalf of repressed people of Iran I ask that you and your colleagues oppose this “deal” with the Iranian government before your September 17 deadline. Specifically, I ask that you vote against the agreement and prepare to override an Obama veto, if necessary.

On behalf of repressed people of Iran,

Mansur Rastani, PHD

August 31, 2015

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