Thursday, February 09, 2006

Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Key to IAEA Vote and to Resolving Iran Tensions

SILVER SPRING, Md., Feb. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board on Saturday voted 27-3 to refer a complaint about Iran's resumption of nuclear research to the UN Security Council. The vote went through only after a compromise by the US, which agreed to wording backing a nuclear weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East. Peace Action issued a call for NWFZ in the Middle East in January ( and welcomes the progress that the IAEA resolution including a NFWZ represents.
"The United States must take seriously this commitment and re- open negotiations seeking establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. Such negotiations are the best way- perhaps the only way-to prevent a nuclear arms race in this deeply troubled region. This sort of diplomatic solution also offers the Bush administration the chance to avoid the mistakes in Iran that they made when they invaded Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction," said Kevin Martin, executive director of Peace Action. As the best intelligence estimates indicate that it would take Iran at least five years to develop a nuclear weapon there is ample time for the United States and the IAEA to conduct successful negotiations.
Unilateral concessions currently sought by the Bush administration are less likely to succeed than similar efforts proposed by Peace Action and affiliated organizations that achieve the goal of Iranian disarmament within the context of a regional disarmament agreement. Such an agreement would necessarily also target Israel as the sole remaining nuclear power within the Middle East. After refusing to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty or place its nuclear facilities under IAEA inspection as mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 487, other Middle Eastern countries continue to assert that Israel's nuclear arsenal poses a threat to their security and provokes nuclear proliferation. Negotiations aimed at freeing the Middle East of all nuclear weapons would address this issue.
"The administration should not let their penchant for sanctions and military solutions to complex problems foreclose this opportunity to rid the Middle East of destabilizing and dangerous nuclear programs through multilateral diplomacy. The wide support in the Middle East and Europe for negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone offer the Bush administration an opportunity to re-establish diplomatic leadership on non- proliferation in the Middle East and resolve the tensions with Iran within the context of a regional security solution," concluded Martin.
Peace Action is the country's largest peace and disarmament organization and is the merger of The Nuclear Freeze and Sane. Web:
/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Family Research Council Applauds Mississippi House for Approving Ban on All Human Cloning

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Today the Mississippi House of Representatives passed a ban on human cloning by an overwhelming vote of 108 - 4. The bill (HB 1202) prohibits the creation of cloned human embryos for research or reproduction. The bill accomplishes this by prohibiting the cloning process called somatic cell nuclear transfer, the same process used to create the cloned sheep Dolly. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
"I applaud the Mississippi House for banning the egregious practice of human cloning. The Mississippi House should be commended for recognizing that experiments involving the cloning and destruction of human embryos is unethical and have produced no such treatments. Instead of human cloning, we need to continue to support adult stem research for patients with spinal cord injury, heart damage, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and sickle cell anemia. "
/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Civil Rights Leaders Meet with Attorney General Gonzales on Civil Rights Issues of Importance to All Americans

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A diverse group of prominent civil rights leaders met this week with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to discuss civil rights issues of concern to all Americans.
Among the topics discussed at the meeting were the reauthorization and restoration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, federal civil rights enforcement (including the protection of voting rights for displaced citizens of Louisiana), immigration policy, and the wiretapping and surveillance of American citizens.
"We urged the Attorney General to actively support the reauthorization and strengthening of the Voting Rights Act," said Theodore M. Shaw, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. "We also shared our deep concerns about the Justice Department's lack of civil rights enforcement in recent years and the electronic surveillance of American citizens, a practice that has a history of being used to harass and undercut the civil rights community,"
"This meeting offered an excellent opportunity to thank the Attorney General for reviewing the functioning of the immigration courts and to call upon the Justice Department to address the erosion of due process rights accorded to immigrants and the alarming increase in immigrant scapegoating," said Karen Narasaki, President of the Asian American Justice Center.
"We carried the message that all of these issues are of paramount importance to Americans and that the civil rights community is united in its commitment to ensure that we are working together with the administration to address them," said Ann Marie Tallman, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
The group encouraged the Attorney General to meet with civil rights leaders on a regular basis in the future.
"Obtaining input from the civil rights community should be a standard practice, not an occasional occurrence," said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. "Enforcement of the nation's civil rights laws is part of the Attorney General's constitutional responsibility and cannot be done in a vacuum. We hope today's meeting is the beginning of an on-going and productive dialogue between the Attorney General and the civil rights community."
Attending the meeting were:
Wade Henderson, executive director, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Marc Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League
Karen Narasaki, president, Asian American Justice Center
Theodore M. Shaw, director-counsel and president, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
Hilary O. Shelton, representing NAACP President Bruce Gordon, who participated by phone
Ann Marie Tallman, president and general counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
National Urban League ( ) Established in 1910, The Urban League is the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Today, the National Urban League, headquartered in New York City, spearheads the non- partisan efforts of its local affiliates. There are over 100 local affiliates of the National Urban League located in 35 states and the District of Columbia providing direct services to more than 2 million people nationwide through programs, advocacy and research.
/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/