Messaging Guidance: Preventing a War with Iran

USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) conducts maritime security operations

Despite having campaigned on ending Middle East wars, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton are responsible for the current crisis with Iran, which has put us on the path to war.

  • The current crisis with Iran and potential escalation toward a larger military conflict cannot be seen in a vacuum. It is because Trump and his war cabinet:
  1. established a policy of hostility and antagonism toward Iran from day one,
  2. hired advisors and took the counsel of outside voices who want regime change and war with Iran,
  3. violated the Iran nuclear deal,
  4. engaged in economic warfare by unilaterally imposing crushing sanctions on Iran and threatened sanctions against our European allies, even though Iran was/is still complying with the agreement, and
  5. increased regional tensions through bellicose rhetoric and a bolstered U.S. military presence aimed at confronting Iran.
  • U.S. intelligence officials have said that recent military posturing from Iran “is in response to the administration’s aggressive steps over the last two months.” [SOURCE]
  • Trump administration officials have been building a case for regime change and war with Iran since day one, which has included peddling the false claim that Iran is coordinating with al-Qaeda against the U.S. [SOURCE] [SOURCE]

War with Iran would be catastrophic, worse than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

  • Any U.S. military strike against Iranian targets would certainly invite retaliatory actions against Americans or U.S. allies in the region, and risks a wider war with Iran, or worse, an all out regional war.
  • War with Iran with the goal of ending its nuclear program or changing the regime would require a massive U.S. invasion and occupation that would pale in comparison to the combined U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and would likely be as unsuccessful in the long term. [SOURCE] [SOURCE]
  • War with Iran would devastate the region, and harm regular Iranians and Americans. It would be adding insult to injury as U.S. sanctions have already devastated Iran’s economy, causing the prices of food, medicine, and other basic goods to skyrocket, punishing the Iranian people for the actions of their government. [SOURCE] [SOURCE]

Congress can constrain Trump’s ability to wage war with Iran.

  • Both the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would bar funding for an illegal, unauthorized war with Iran.
  • Members of Congress and experts have stated that the current authorizations for the use of military force (that authorize the post-9/11 wars) do not authorize war with Iran. [SOURCE] [SOURCE] [SOURCE]

The Trump administration has no credibility to tell us the truth about Iran.

  • The threat intelligence Trump administration officials cited for the recent military build up in the region to counter Iran was either misleading or blown wildly out of proportion. [SOURCE] [SOURCE]
  • John Bolton, a key official driving Trump’s Iran policy, has said repeatedly over the years that he wants war and regime change in Iran. He previously lied to get us to invade Iraq, and has a history of manipulating intelligence. [SOURCE]
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has led an international campaign to isolate Iran and force regime change. He also called for bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities as a member of Congress. [SOURCE] [SOURCE]

The international community, including our European allies, do not support the Trump administration’s Iran policy.

  • The European Union is strongly opposed to Trump pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, and EU officials are skeptical about recent Trump administration claims of alleged attacks orchestrated by Iran on tankers on the Gulf of Oman. [SOURCE] [SOURCE]
  • The only countries cheerleading the destruction of the Iran nuclear deal and pressing for military confrontation with Iran are Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. [SOURCE]

The Iran nuclear deal is thus far working as advertised: blocking Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

  • Trump administration officials have no evidence to show that the Iran nuclear deal was a bad deal.
  • The United Nations’ atomic energy watchdog has certified more than a dozen times — most recently on May 31 — that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement. [SOURCE]
  • Recent threats of the Iranians to breach some of the constraints imposed by the JCPOA come as a direct response to the Trump Administration walking away from the deal and actively working to undermine it.

The American people do not support Trump’s Iran policy; they don’t want to go to war with Iran and oppose pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal.

  • A recent CNN poll — conducted weeks after Trump’s military build-up to confront Iran — found that just 32 percent of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling the situation with Iran. [SOURCE]
  • A recent YouGov poll found that 53 percent of Americans oppose declaring war on Iran, while just 23 percent supported. [SOURCE]
  • A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that just 29 percent supported Trump’s policy of withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement. A CNN poll found that 63 percent said the U.S. should not withdraw. [SOURCE] [SOURCE]
  • A Morning Consult poll found that 54 percent of voters supported the Iran nuclear deal, while just 27 percent opposed. [SOURCE]

UPDATED messaging on Iran reportedly moving beyond the limits of the JCPOA:

Iran reportedly moving beyond the limits of the 2015 nuclear deal is a predictable and direct response to the Trump administration walking away from the agreement and actively working to undermine it. 

  • When Trump took office, the Iran deal was working, yet he decided — for solely domestic political reasons — to unilaterally withdraw and reimpose crushing sanctions, preventing the full implementation of the deal and leaving Iran with no recourse. 

Breaching the limit on low-enriched uranium does not pose a near-term proliferation risk, but Iran could soon take additional steps that would shorten the time it would take to produce enough material for a bomb.  

The Trump administration’s actions are further isolating the United States and pushing our allies and partners into Iran’s corner. 

  • President Obama built a successful international coalition to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Now Trump’s actions have undone it. Our European allies strongly oppose Trump’s Iran policy and are working with the Iranians to try to keep the deal alive.

Iran should do all it can to remain in compliance with the nuclear agreement, and the Trump administration must reverse its failed “maximum pressure” campaign immediately, which is only causing the Iran nuclear deal to collapse and pushing us toward another costly war in the Middle East. 

  • The parties remaining in the deal — the UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia — must do all they can to ensure that Iran receives enough economic benefits to remain in the agreement.
  • The Iran deal assured the United States and the international community that Iran’s nuclear program was for peaceful purposes only. Rejoining the Iran nuclear deal and ending the failed “maximum pressure” campaign is the best path forward to de-escalate this crisis and avoid a catastrophic war with Iran.