By Darla Shelden
Oklahoma activists from a group called Americans Against the Next War (AANW) are working to prevent military action or war against Iran.
The group held a news conference at the State Capitol to announce three billboards they have purchased for the metro area that read “Tell Congress: No War On Iran”. The event was attended by several members of the coalition who are endorsing and funding the project.
While some American officials believe Tehran is planning to build nuclear weapons, Iran’s leadership says that they are working to develop a nuclear program to generate electricity and to provide fuel for medical reactors without dipping into the oil supply it prefers to sell abroad.
“Our news conference presented several perspectives on why Congress should be patient while allowing the process of negotiations, diplomacy, inspections and other non-military strategies to resolve the issues with Iran,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, Director of the Peace House in Oklahoma City.
John Scripsick, a farmer from Wayne, OK who lost his son in the Iraq war in 2007 said, “This hatred has to stop. The civilians are the ones who will pay the price. War will never hurt the political leaders of a country, it hurts the common civilians. I’m totally against this war.”
When asked what affect the news conference might have, Scripsick said. “If I can save one kid, a week before he gets blown up, that would save the family a lot of grief.”
Dr. Katherine Scheirman, Col. USAF (ret), served over 20 years in the military and feels strongly about this issue. “The same people who were cheerleading for the Iraq War are now fear-mongering about the threat from Iran,” said Dr. Scheirman. “The reality is that Iran is a second rate military power, with an economy being crippled by poor management and international sanctions. It is isolated in the Middle East and surrounded by US military bases. I agree with Ron Paul when he says that the threat to US national security is not Iran, but endless wars.”
According to the New York Times, in late June 2012, the United States imposed a new round of sanctions that could punish any foreign country that buys Iranian oil. However, it has issued six-month exemptions to 20 importers of Iranian oil who have significantly cut their purchases, including China, which has openly opposed the pressure on Iran.
“If we thought Iraq was terrible, a war with Iran would be a thousand times worse,” said Scheirman.
A recent Gallup poll suggests a majority of Iranians are worried about financial pain from the penalties already imposed.
“There are two ways to engage with Iran on its nuclear program, engagement or confrontation,” the Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said in a statement to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. He said. “Iran is confident of the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, and has always insisted on the first alternative.”
Oklahoma businessman Jalal Farzahneh said, “Our generals and secretary of defense confirmed that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb. We ask congress to say no to a war on Iran based on faulty intelligence, and will not put our troops in harms way. This war will not serve America’s interest.”
According to their website, AANW is a coalition of central Oklahoma organizations and citizens who are concerned about the normalizing of a state of constant war and the lack of advocacy for non-military solutions to international disagreements.
President Barack Obama recently said he would take no options off the table to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons but added that a peaceful resolution of the crisis was still possible.
The White House website says, ‘We have accepted a proposal by the International Atomic Energy Agency to meet Iran’s request for assistance in meeting the medical needs of its people. We have made clear that if Iran lives up to the obligations that every nation has, it will have a path to a more prosperous and productive relationship with the international community.’
A recent press release from The American Israel Public Affairs Committee stated, ‘AIPAC applauds the House for passing (401-11) a resolution that urges increased pressure on Tehran and affirms that “it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.’ The resolution (H. Res. 568) also ‘rejects any U.S. policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran.’
The “No War On Iran” billboard locations are: I-35, north of SE 15; on I-35, 1/2 mile north of Britton road; and on I-40, west of Yukon near the Clarence Page airport.
“Our billboards demonstrate that voices for peace and negotiations are now crucial to the process of resolving issues with Iran,” said Batchelder. “A war with Iran would raise world oil prices, reverse our fragile economic recovery, and plunge the U.S. into further debt.”
For more information visit www.AmericansAgainstTheNextWar.org.