Daily Israel Report

American 'Peace Now' Opposes Iran Sanctions

The American chapter of Peace Now has slammed a move to pressure Iran to halt nuclear activity by imposing further sanctions.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 9/14/2009, 11:32 AM

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The American Friends of Peace Now is calling on the United States to increase pressure on Israel while opposing sanctions to force Iran to end its nuclear development activities. In a statement released to the media on Sunday, the organization said that imposing sanctions and setting deadlines to end its nuclear programs were the "wrong policy" for dealing with Iran.

The group meanwhile continues to simultaneously call for the U.S. to step up its pressure on Israel to freeze all construction in any area restored to the state during the 1967 Six Day War, including the nation's capital, Jerusalem.

"For those who believe in Mideast peace, Iran remains an issue of central importance, and our new policy on Iran represents the only effective approach for dealing with Iran -- one that looks soberly at the current situation... continued U.S. engagement efforts, coupled with realistic expectations and a strategy that is ready and able to adapt to what remains a dynamic situation," the statement said.

The organization added in its statement, "Engaging Iran, Promoting Peace" that it "opposes efforts by many Jewish organizations to promote new sanctions to 'cripple' Iran's economy as well as a mid-September deadline on U.S. engagement efforts."

Peace Now vehemently opposes the strategy of imposing sanctions in order to [deliberately inflict] "suffering on civilians in the hope that if the people are miserable enough, they will pressure their government to change course."

Debra DeLee, president and CEO of Americans for Peace Now, wrote in an op-ed published last week by an American Jewish news wire service that the strategy was not only "dubious morally, but so is its efficacy. Such strategies failed in Iraq, Cuba and Gaza, as well as in Iran itself."

DeLee acknowledged that it was important to convince Iran to stop its nuclear program, but warned that "tougher sanctions against Iran could backfire."

However, increasingly severe economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council for more than a year have been ineffective in persuading Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameini, to halt its race towards nuclear technology. Intelligence agencies believe that Iran is working towards developing an atomic weapon, and Israel's military intelligence officials have said that the Islamic Republic may well be capable of producing a nuclear warhead within the next year.

Ahmadinejad has also repeatedly vowed to "wipe the Zionist state off the map."