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Do not strike the Nethercutt language or Iran from the FY 2001 Agriculture Appropriations Bill!

Iranians for International Cooperation

Summary: Next week, Congress will vote whether to lift sanctions on food and medicine on all nations including Iran. Contact your representative and voice your support for the lifting sanctions.

Representative George R. Nethercutt (R-WA) has included an amendment to the FY 2001 Agriculture Appropriations Bill (HR 4461) that will lift unilateral U.S. sanctions on food and medicine on all nations including Iran.

This is a very positive step towards normalizing relations between the US and Iran and breaking Iran out of its economic isolation and hardship. The Iranian people are the primary victims of Iran's economic isolation and U.S. farmers are the primary victims of the U.S.'s sanctions policies.

There are, however, influential groups that are pressuring Congress to exclude Iran from the Agriculture Appropriations Bill. If they would succeed, sanctions against the dictatorships in Iraq and North Korea would be lifted, whereas sanctions on an increasingly democratic Iran would remain in place.

These influential lobby groups have based their opposition to the bill and the inclusion of Iran on the arrest of 13 Iranian Jews charged with spying. As long as these 13 Iranian Jews are accused of spying, the sanctions should not be lifted, they argue.

It is widely acknowledged that anti-democratic forces in Iran have orchestrated the arrest of these 13 Iranians in order to derail attempts to improve relations between Iran and the U.S. Opponents of President Khatami's reforms are terrified of losing their privileged position in Iran. They see increasing ties between Iran and the U.S. as a threat.

Not including Iran in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill is exactly what hardliners in Iran want and they are using the 13 Iranian Jews as tools to achieve that goal. At the same time, opponents of a rapprochement with Iran on the U.S. side are using the very same 13 Iranian Jews as tools, to obtain the very same goal.

You can make a difference. The Bill will most likely come to the floor next week for a vote, so it is crucial that you act as soon as possible.

There are several things that you as a constituent can do in order to support the lifting of sanctions.

You can call your Congressman TODAY and let him or her know that as a constituent, you want your representative to oppose any attempt to strike the Nethercutt language or Iran from the Agriculture Appropriations Bill. Ask to speak with the Congressman him/herself or to the Legislative Assistant that deals with Foreign Affairs or Agricultural issues. Congressmen need to know that their constituents support the Nethercutt language. Explain who you are and why you believe sanctions must be lifted. Explain how important this issue is to you.

You can also fax your Congressman. Below you will find a sample letter that you can use.

You can also email your Congressman, but email is usually not the most efficient way of reaching Congress.

If you do not know who your Congressman is or do not have his/her telephone and fax number, visit the following webpage: http://www.capweb.net/classic/index.morph . Enter your zipcode and you will find the telephone number, fax number and email address of your representative.

Please contact your Congressman TODAY. The vote will take place in just a few days.


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