FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2008
CONTACT: Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Joe Benny (216) 228-8850
WASHINGTON – July 15 – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) submitted the following statement regarding H. Con. Res. 385 to the Congressional Record today:
Madam Speaker, I join my colleagues in condemning the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina in July of 1994. Those responsible for the destruction and loss of human life that resulted from this attack must be held accountable. I believe that anyone who acts to destroy innocent life, regardless of their position in society or the country they are from should be subject to international scrutiny for their actions, and that includes our own officials.
In the past I have voted in favor of similar resolutions that condemned the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center and sought to hold accountable those responsible for this deplorable and heinous act. Accordingly, today I once again support all aspects of this resolution that call for justice on behalf of the 85 people murdered and 300 wounded.
However, H. Con. Res. 385 is not without problems in its current form. First, the final “Whereas” clause of the resolution contains information that is speculative rather than factual. The resolution appears to draw this clause from an ABC News report from June 19, 2008 which provides no hard evidence to support the stated claims. Second, the resolution claims in the penultimate “Whereas” clause that Iran “in recent years” has opened “nearly a dozen embassies in Latin America.” In recent years, Iran has opened two embassies in Latin America, one in Colombia in 2007 and one in Nicaragua in 2007. These events brought the total of Iranian embassies in Latin America to eight. According to experts at the Congressional Research Service (CRS) the other five Iranian Embassies in Latin America have been around for a long time and include Cuba, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela.
As such, I do not agree with the decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to treat this resolution as non-controversial. The bill could unwittingly place this congress in the position of promoting an attack on the country of Iran through its attempt to draw parallels between Iran and those responsible for the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center. Instead of using speculative and factually inaccurate information which is clearly included in this bill, the resolution should be redrafted and kept to readily ascertainable facts about the unconscionable attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in 1994.
This body must not allow an attack on innocent people be used as a pretext for an attack on more innocent people. Indeed, we have done this once with disastrous results. I believe this House is better served by demanding sensible and responsible diplomatic foreign policy initiatives. This body should demand that the Administration engage Iran immediately in high-level diplomatic negotiations without preconditions. By neglecting this duty and employing tactics that maintain an ongoing condemnation of Iran, without opening diplomatic channels, this body is systematically destroying every available route to restoring peace and security in the Middle East which could have devastating consequences for Israel, as well as our troops in Iraq.
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