Statement of Veterans For Peace: The Solution to the Nuclear “Crisis” with Iran is not Sanctions and War, It is a Middle East Free of All Nuclear Weapons

We are once again on the verge of another disastrous war in the Middle East.  The United States and its allies in Europe and the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are consciously pushing Syria toward a destructive civil war. The objective is to bring down the Assad regime, an ally of the Iranian government, as a stepping-stone toward further isolation of Iran and preparation of the ground for a military attack on that country.

At the same time, the United States, European Union and Israel are using Iran’s civilian nuclear program as an excuse to impose devastating economic sanctions against the people of Iran. According to various sources, the sanctions have already wreaked havoc on the Iranian economy, leading to inflation rates of 50 to 100 percent, youth unemployment rate of over 22 percent, drastic reduction of Iran’s domestic production to 40 percent of its capacity, massive closure of economic enterprises and widespread layoffs, and 40 percent drop in the Iranian oil exports during 2012, resulting in a loss of $32 billion in oil income since last year alone. It is expected that the new round of expanded sanctions, which started on July 1st of this year, will further reduce the Iranian oil exports to a mere 1.5 million barrels a day, thus pushing Iran into a fatal economic crisis.

This is nothing but a clear declaration of economic war on Iran. These devastating sanctions are not an “alternative” to war; they are part and parcel of a war aimed at forcing a regime change in Iran as an integral part of the US plan for a “Greater Middle East.” Let us not forget the case of Iraq. There, too, a decade of devastating sanctions was used as a “softening period” that would weaken Iraq’s economic infrastructure; make the population desperate enough to welcome any foreign intervention; and reduce Iraq’s military capability to resist an invasion — i.e., making Iraq an easy military target. Now the same scenario is being repeated with Iran.

All this is being done in the name of removing the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East. But this is just a cover. Iran is already surrounded by the US and Israeli nuclear weapons. The very forces that are threatening Iran over its civil nuclear program are themselves responsible for nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East. A US/Israeli military attack on Iran will have disastrous, unpredictable consequences for the peoples of the Middle East region and the world, and will be a serious threat to peace and security of all nations.

The real solution lies not in selective targeting of Iran with sanctions and threats of war, but in complete removal of all nuclear weapons from the Middle East region. The Middle East, like Latin America and Africa, must be declared as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) calls for both the liquidation of nuclear weapons by states and the discouragement of non-nuclear states from obtaining or developing nuclear weapons; and the UN General Assembly has repeatedly called for the establishment of a Nuclear-Free Zone in the Middle East. As an urgent response to the nuclear crisis in the Middle East, the 2010 NPT Conference has called for the convening of a Conference in December 2012, in Helsinki, Finland, for the establishment of a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East. This initiative must be supported and its success must be guaranteed.

Recognizing the critical nature of the present situation in the Middle East and the threat of an imminent war, Veterans For Peace,

—  Calls for immediate lifting of all economic sanctions against Iran;

—  Demands immediate cessation of US and Israeli military threats against Iran;

—  Declares its solidarity with the Iranian people in their just struggle for freedom, justice and peace;

—  Demands immediate cessation of all foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Syria, including an immediate end to the illegal arming of surrogate forces fighting the government; establishment of an immediate ceasefire on all sides; and allowing the peaceful people of Syria to decide their destiny democratically and independently;

—  Calls for recognition of the Middle East as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone by all parties involved, including the US, Israel and Iran, and the removal of all nuclear weapons from the Middle East region;

—  Urges all VFP Chapters and the broader peace movement to press the US government to support the Helsinki Conference and the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East as a concrete and logical solution to the present crisis in the region.

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