The United States — sometimes alone, often with Israel,
now most recently with the United Kingdom — threatens
to attack Iran. Daily, the world’s media report new U.S.
troop, naval, and material commitments to the region (e.g.,
"bunker-buster" bombs to Israel, antimissile systems to allied Persian Gulf states, aircraft carrier groups, submarines, and minesweepers to nearby waters), along with a series of leaks of plans to attack Iran, and the latest preparations underway to execute them. Although we do not know whether a full-scale U.S. aerial and/or ground attack on Iranian territory will occur, we cannot but recognize the gravity of the moment, nor of the fact that U.S. forces already occupy countries to Iran’s east (Afghanistan) and its west (Iraq), both testaments to military conquests this decade alone. Whatever words may have been spoken by Iran’s leadership, these U.S. actions are not empty bluster. Consider that the United States alone accounts for one-half of our world’s war-making expenditures, maintains roughly 40 major military bases on foreign soil, and possesses an Air Force and Navy that encircle the globe and can strike anywhere decisively. Consider also that the United States possesses a peerless nuclear-weapons stockpile and means of delivery, including weapons that can be launched from land, sea, or air, as well as space-based satellites that encircle the globe, and point their watchful eyes at everything beneath. Since it is the United States — and not Iran — that possesses the world’s unparalleled means of violence, and since it is the United States — and no other state — that has employed them on a serial, even recidivist basis for many decades, we believe it time not only to acknowledge the threat posed by the United States, but to take a stand against it, before the United States commits yet another act of aggression.
We, therefore, acting together as citizens of the world,
Reaffirming our commitment to the Charter of the United Nations, central to which is the goal of saving humankind from the scourge of war, the universal respect for the sovereign equality of all states, and the maintenance of international peace and security,
Deeply concerned over the clear threat that the United States poses to Iran and to international peace and security,
Determined to prevent the United States from committing its third grave breach of the peace this decade by attacking Iran,
Emphasizing that in cases where threats to or breaches of the peace are caused by a Permanent Member of the Security Council, the Permanent Member’s right to veto Security Council actions in all likelihood will prevent the Council as a whole from executing its functions and powers under the UN Charter, and from adopting any positive measures to counter these threats or breaches,
Mindful specifically of the veto exercised by the United States as a Permanent Member of the Security Council, with its power to render null and void any recourse to the Council to carry out its legitimate functions and powers and to uphold its Chapter VII responsibilities,
Mobilizing nevertheless under the letter and the spirit of Chapter VII of the UN Charter,
1. Call on the United States to respect the letter and spirit of the UN Charter, and to uphold the cause of peace and security, rather than to threaten or to breach it;
2. Express in the strongest terms possible our disapproval and rejection of the military option in the relations between states;
3. Invoke our Article 51 rights of individual or collective self-defense to form the nucleus of a coalition that will assume the Security Council’s functions and powers until such time as the Council acting on its own assumes the responsibility for them;
4. Call on this Article 51 Coalition to determine whether the current U.S. course of action with respect to Iran constitutes a threat to the peace, actionable under Chapter VII, and undertake those measures not involving armed violence as may be necessary to maintain peace and security before the United States launches a war against Iran;
5. In the event of a U.S. breach of the peace against Iran, call on the Article 51 Coalition to undertake those measures not involving armed violence as may be necessary to restore peace and security;
6. Call on the Article 51 Coalition to establish an international tribunal for the sole purpose of prosecuting persons most responsible for breaches of the peace committed against the territory of Iran between (let us say) January 1 2007, and a date to be determined by the Article 51 Coalition;
7. Request the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to organize and to finance, and to share their expertise with, to the fullest extent possible, the operations of the Article 51 Coalition;
8. Urge all States, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to contribute funds, equipment, staff, expertise, and services to the Article 51 Coalition;
9. Decide to remain ever-vigilant with respect to the matter.
Open Letter to All Members of Congress, the Bush Administration and the U.S. Armed Forces From Legal and Human Rights Groups, National Lawyers Guild, February 1, 2007
"Open Letter to the World on the U.S. Threat to the Peace," ZNet, March 31, 2007