Portland City Council Passes Resolutions Supporting Nuclear Ban Treaty & Diplomacy with Iran

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On November 13th, Portland City Council adopted two resolutions in support of peace and diplomacy. Introduced by Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the first resolution puts Portland on record supporting the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the second one supports diplomacy, not war, with Iran. The resolutions were led by Oregon PSR and the American Iranian Friendship Council and supported by a broad coalition of community organizations.

“Today, we are sending the message to our representatives in Washington, and the national and international community, that the City of Portland is committed to the protection and health of human life and the environment,” explained Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the sponsor of both resolutions. “These resolutions serve as a platform for our community members to see themselves reflected in our values and priorities as a City.”

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By adopting the resolution supporting the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Portland has joined about a dozen US cities and more than a hundred cities around the world to take a stand for nuclear disarmament. The resolution is based on Oregon’s Senate Joint Memorial 5 and acknowledges that Portland taxpayers are spending roughly $142,413,000 annually on nuclear weapons, money that could be better spent on healthcare, education, infrastructure, and the environment. It calls out the racial injustice and harm to human health that nuclear weapons have already caused from uranium mining on indigenous land, weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the contamination of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Michiko_Kornhauser__Tawna_Sanchez_and_Harvey_Thorstad.jpgLeft to right: Harvey Thorstad, Rep. Tawna Sanchez, and Michiko Kornhauser. Photo by Mike Hastie.

The resolution passed on the strength of the powerful, moving testimonies of our panel of speakers, which Commissioner Chloe Eudaly remarked would “echo in my mind forever.” Speakers in support of the resolution included Japanese hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor) Michiko Kornhauser; Retired Commander Harvey Thorstad of Veterans for Peace and National Association of Atomic Veterans; State Representative Tawna Sanchez, who introduced the state version of the resolution; and Kianna Angelo, member of the Marshallese community, founder of Living Islands, and a Board member of COFA Alliance National Network; and Oregon PSR’s Chisao Hata and Yukiyo Kawano.

“In our current political climate with the looming threats of war and a new nuclear arms race, it’s vital that local elected officials speak up for diplomacy and protecting their constituents from the devastation of nuclear weapons and war,” said Oregon PSR Advisory Board member Chisao Hata. “I applaud Portland City Council for passing this resolution and joining with the majority of countries in the world that support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

Sahar__Kambiz_and_Catherine.jpgLeft to right: Dr. Catherine Thomasson, Dr. Kambiz GhaneBasir, and Sahar Yarjani Muranovic. Photo by Mike Hastie.

The Portland City Council also voted to support a resolution encouraging diplomacy, not war, with Iran. This resolution was developed by the American Iranian Friendship Council, a local group of Iranian Americans and others who have deep ties with Iran.

Speakers in favor of the no war with Iran resolution included Iranian-Americans Goudarz Eghtedari, PhD of the American Iranian Friendship Council; David Douglas School Board member Sahar Yarjani Muranovic; Professor of Religion and Humanities at Reed College Kambiz GhaneBasir, PhD; and Jason Ali Allen, along with Catherine Thomasson, MD, former PSR Executive Director who traveled to Iran on a medical delegation, and Marion Ward of the Portland Shiraz Sister City Project.

“Even without war, US sanctions are having a devastating effect on ordinary Iranians. For example, according to a news outlet, 15 Iranian children have died this year due to extreme sanctions  imposed on Iran,” said Goudarz Eghtedari, PhD, a co-founder of American Iranian Friendship Council. “Children who were diagnosed with Epidermolysis Bullosa did not receive protective bandages they needed. A Swedish company is the unique manufacturer of the medical bandage and refused to ship it to Iran due to sanctions. Pursuing diplomacy with Iran will save lives.”

Kianna_and_Yukiyo_hug.jpgYukiyo Kawano (left) and Kianna Angelo (right). Photo by Mike Hastie. 

The resolutions were supported by the following organizations: American Iranian Friendship Council, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, 350PDX, American Friends Service Committee Oregon, APANO*, Augustana Lutheran Church, Coalition of Communities of Color*, Code Pink, COFA Alliance National Network (CANN)*, Columbia Riverkeeper*, Democratic Party of Multnomah County, Environmentalists Against War, Living Earth, Living Islands*, National Association of Atomic Veterans, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Oregon Women's Action for New Directions (WAND), Peace Action Group, First Unitarian Church, Peace and Justice Works**, Portland Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC), Sierra Club, Oregon Chapter, Soka-Gakkai USA*, Union of Concerned Scientists*, Unite Oregon, Verde*, Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 and more. (*nuclear weapons resolution only, **Iran resolution only)

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View video of the Portland City Council hearing (resolutions discussion begins around 1 hour, 37 minute mark and end around the 2 hours, 49 minute mark)