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A voice for peace, not war, with Iran — May 9, 2018

I’ve learned, like you, that the U.S. has violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by pulling out of the deal we negotiated and agreed to with our allies and Iran.

This is a reckless and foolhardy step. It makes us less safe. It makes the world more dangerous. It hurts our ability to make peace in Korea by undermining our signed agreements. I oppose it and have warned against it. Congressman John Faso has praised it. I want to tell you why he is wrong and why we need to make a change.

The President of the United States, who we trust to protect us from our enemies and who Congress is tasked to oversee, just unilaterally made it easier for one of our enemies to develop a nuclear weapon.

US diplomats, including former colleagues of mine, worked for years to develop an agreement to remove fissile material from Iran, inspect and dismantle its weapons program in exchange for unfreezing Iranian assets and lifting sanctions. We did this because an Iranian nuclear bomb would endanger us. It would increase the risk of nuclear war and threaten Saudi Arabia and others, sparking an arms race in the already-volatile Middle East. It would encourage more military spending here when we need to use our resources to provide health care and build our schools.

John Faso says that the agreement we had was a failure. I don’t know where he gets his information. I can tell you where I get mine. I was a national security official over the course of a decade. I served as an intelligence officer and can tell you that the intelligence reports indicate Iran was in compliance with this agreement. I was a US diplomat in Iraq when our first talks with Iran began and I can tell you they were a vital step forward at a time when conflict with Iran was causing a terrible loss of life among US soldiers. They were shipping in deadly armor-penetrating IEDs to kill our soldiers. Has John Faso already forgotten that terrible war? I haven’t, and I never will. I’ve seen what conflict with Iran means. I’ve seen what diplomacy can achieve.

There’s a saying among diplomats that is worth remembering as John Faso attempts to rile us into conflict with Iran: “You don’t make peace with your friends. You don’t need to. You make peace with your enemies.” The agreement with Iran was just such an achievement.

We elect political leaders to see what they can build, not what they can destroy. We elect congresspeople to speak for us, the peace-loving people of the Hudson Valley and Catskills. We want to see our resources used here, not squandered in more conflict. John Faso isn’t doing those things. I wish the election were yesterday.

Here is what I will do in Congress:

I will demand intelligence reports proving or disproving any Iranian violation, I believe there are no violations. I will contact Middle Eastern leaders and convene them to hear their views — not enough diplomacy is being used today I will demand right now a new resolution to prevent the president from prosecuting a future war without the approval of congress.

We can do these things. We can build the world we want. It starts by putting a progressive, experienced voice in Congress by voting for our campaign in the primary on June 26.

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