BIPAC petition decries a nuclear Iran
A petition calling on national leaders to "act appropriately and swiftly" to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons will be presented to the student body for a vote early next month following a campaign by the Brandeis Israel Public Affairs Committee. BIPAC circulated the petition last week and received over 600 signatures, easily qualifying it for a campus-wide referendum, Dmitry Vilner '08, the club's campus advocacy director, said.
Vilner said if the petition passes the March 1 vote, BIPAC will present the resolution at an annual policy conference in Washington. The conference will be hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential lobby with which BIPAC is affiliated.
"It's a meeting of very influential politicians in Washington," Vilner said of the conference. "Our purpose is to lobby them."
BIPAC delivered the petition to the Union senate Sunday night. Union Secretary Aaron Braver '07 announced the referendum in a campus-wide e-mail sent Monday.
The petition states the desire of the student body to "call attention to the dangers to American national security and global stability posed by Iran's illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons."
It also charges Iran with "ongoing moral, political and financial support for international terrorism" as well as that country's "stated intention to eliminate another sovereign state," a reference to comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last October calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.
BIPAC's president, Jacob Baime '08, expressed similar sentiments at the senate meeting Sunday.
"When one man is screaming he wants at least one sovereign nation wiped off earth, it is a grave concern to all of us," he said.
Vilner said the possibility that Iran would provide nuclear weapons to terrorists was a serious one. "Iran is the greatest sponsor of international terrorism in the world," he said. "It funds all these groups that operate around the world with the stated goal of killing as many people as possible in the name of Islam."
Although Vilner said "99 percent of students" who were approached signed the petition, some students expressed reservations over the wording of the statement.
Aaron Voldman '09, president of the campus chapter of the political organization Democracy for America, said he felt "scared and troubled" by the current situation in Iran, but was undecided about whether he would vote in support of the petition.
"The resolution merely calls for 'action'," he said. "I am scared that since the resolution does not specifically address the type of action that will be used, it will suggest to our leaders that the Brandeis community supports military intervention."
Vilner said BIPAC is not advocating a military response.
"We just want the United States to crack down on Iran," he said. "If ultimately it comes down to a military policy, then we hope every other option is exhausted beforehand."
Alice Troy '09 said she did not sign the petition because she was worried about United States' nuclear policy.
"If we want Iran to not acquire nuclear weapons, then we should be willing to not have weapons either," she said. "I would have signed it if they had been more clear about expectations for our own country."
Lindsay Deslauriers '09 said concerns similar to Troy's caused her to endorse the statement.
"I signed it because I don't want anyone to have nuclear weapons," she said. "Nobody. Not even the [United] States.