MoveOn holds “No War With Iran” call-in event prior to national protests

Last night, in preparation for today’s nationwide protests against escalation of the conflict between the United States and Iran, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren slammed the president.

“This is a crisis of Donald Trump’s making,” Massachusetts Sen. Warren said. “The first job of the president of the United States is to keep America safe … this is not making America safer.”

In a phone call sponsored by the activist group MoveOn, leading activists, senators and members of Congress called for visible anti-war protests today. Warren emphasized that now is the moment for “Americans to speak up and say ‘We do not want another war in the Middle East.’”

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, added: “We need all of you in the public to weigh in with Congress so we can put a check on this irrational and irresponsible president. We can’t let him drag us into this war with no end in sight and no Congressional authorization and no plans for diplomacy.”

Lee said the public must demand the White House provide evidence that Iran is an imminent threat, as well as justification for the assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani. She also questioned the administration’s use of a 2002 vote as legal support for military action against Iran. Lee said Trump has surrounded himself with “warmongers” such as the U.S. Secretary of State. 

“Mike Pompeo, who should be working on diplomacy to de-escalate and put us on the path to peace, seems to want war,” Lee said.

Lee promoted support for House Resolution 2456, which aims to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. Similarly, Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders presented a bill he introduced with California Rep. Ro Khanna to “prohibit the use of funds for unauthorized military force against Iran, and for other purposes.” Sanders cited the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which makes it “clear that the Constitution says that it is the Congress, not the president, who determines whether this country goes to war.” The House of Representatives will likely vote on a War Powers Resolution today. 

On the call, which included an estimated 10,000 participants, Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, emphasized the negative impact that the Trump administration has with policies such as a proposed Muslim ban on immigration, trade sanctions and exiting the Iran nuclear deal. He said it goes deeper than stopping a potential war. “It is [stopping] the things that set up this war.” 

Abdi said that he hopes that joint efforts between activist organizations will “put an end to the endless sanctions and escalations and hopefully together put Iran and the U.S. back on a path to diplomacy, rather than military conflict.”

One caller asked if Trump’s actions towards Iran would be further grounds for impeachment.  MoveOn Executive Director Rahna Epting said that although it would likely not change the articles of impeachment, the assassination of Soleimani provides an additional reason for a fair Senate trial. “It is just another proof point of the fact that he has been abusing his oath of office and he is a danger and a threat to the safety of our national security and our democracy,” she said.

More than 300  “No War With Iran” events are scheduled to take place today at 5 p.m. Two protests will be held in South Florida near the Torch of Friendship in front of Bayside Marketplace in Downtown Miami and outside the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.

Natalia Clement is a senior journalism student at FIU. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, but was raised in Miami. Her passion for journalism began in elementary school as a school news anchor and continued all the way into college. She enjoys written journalism the most, but also finds broadcasting interesting. She is the copy editor for Caplin News and also interns at Univision. Natalia looks forward to graduating in the summer. Her ultimate goal is to move to New York to pursue her career as a journalist.