You may be surprised at the answer; there are already over 205 cosponsors of H.Con.Res. 362. Is yours one?
This bill calls on the president to stop all shipments of refined petroleum products from reaching Iran. It also “demands” that the President impose “stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran.”
Analysts say that this would require a US naval blockade in the Strait of Hormuz, the critical chokepoint through which nearly a quarter of the world’s oil passes. Imposing such a blockade without United Nations authority (which the resolution does not call for) would be considered an act of war. Some congressional sources say the House could vote on the resolution as early as this week.
Critics of the bill claim that if the US Congress were to pass H.Con.Res. 362, it would send the signal to the Iranian people and the international community that the US is willing to engage in an aggressive and unwarranted act of war before direct diplomacy even begins. That interpretation is refuted, however, by strong interests in Washington who have pushed to promote the petroleum embargo as a voluntary hold on exports to Iran from a coalition of willing countries. Supporters claim that this proposal is actually an alternative to war and an effective approach to pressure Iran economically.
Sensing that the threat of war has once again increased — especially in light of this month’s Israeli military exercises which simulated a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities — IAEA Director Mohamad El Baradei warned last week that he would resign if any country attacked Iran.
Economic analysts worry that the risk of military escalation in the Persian Gulf could drive oil prices above their already record highs, possibly approaching $200 per barrel. During this highly charged political time, members of Congress are prone to give in to calls for tough talk and escalation against Iran. That approach, however, has failed for nearly three decades and produces nothing more than higher gas prices and a constantly growing risk of war.
Your members of Congress need to hear your opinion about this. Tell your members of Congress not to support this war resolution.
Trita Parsi is is a co-founder and current President of the National Iranian American Council (niacouncil.org) in Washington, DC.