I wrote the following letter to my Representative and Senators telling them to oppose conflict with Iran.
I am not surprised that Iran convicted an American citizen, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, for spying. (http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/jan/12/ml-iran-american-detained/) It's no surprise that it's unsafe for Americans to visit Iran. Anyone could be arrested for espionage with zero or trumped-up evidence.
I assume Hekmati is innocent, and that this was a show trial. Did we expect different behavior from Iran?
* Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, under which it has a right to develop nuclear power.
* American politicians lie when they claim Iran is developing nuclear weapons. YOU know that U.S. intelligence agencies believe Iran ended their weapons program in 2003, and the IAEA hasn't provided any actual evidence to the contrary, only "recycled, discredited data." (http://bloom.bg/AcoFLH)
* The endless and increasingly stiff sanctions against Iran only encourage that nation to seek any kind of leverage, such as arresting visiting Americans.
* Our insane refusal of diplomacy with Iran only increases the risk that people like Hekmati won't be released but will instead be executed.
The fervent anti-Iranianism in Congress actually strengthens the very Iranian rulers and politicians we oppose. The Iranian people, like those of any nation, believe their country has a right to develop nuclear power and defend themselves, and will rally around a regime they otherwise despise.
Worse, this anti-Iranianism brings on economic instability. Iran's threat to close off the Straits of Hormuz will likely lead to more speculation in the oil market. If it makes good on the threat, there will likely be yet another costly war -- maybe even a depression.
How does that serve U.S. interests?
Normal economic and diplomatic relations with Iran will increase security and global economic stability. This does NOT mean that Iran's ruling class would be our "friend." But it WOULD be a sign that WE base our policies on a clear-eyed view of America's interests and NOT on irrational fears.
It could also save the life of Amir Mirzaei Hekmati.
Policy Research Director