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Promoting peace - Activists to Congress: 'No war with Iran'

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>Approximately 30 people gather outside the Prescott offices of Rep. Paul Gosar and Sen. John McCain to encourage them to support the proposed Iran arms agreement.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>Approximately 30 people gather outside the Prescott offices of Rep. Paul Gosar and Sen. John McCain to encourage them to support the proposed Iran arms agreement.

PRESCOTT - Some 25 protesters gathered midday Wednesday, Aug. 26, bearing signs with messages like "No war with Iran" and "Defend diplomacy" in front of the downtown Prescott office for Sen. John McCain.

It was part of the National Day of Action organized by the left-leaning activist group and political action committee MoveOn. The nationwide event's stated goal is to "urge members of Congress to stand for diplomacy over war," according to a statement released by MoveOn.

"I'm old enough to have been acutely aware of the Vietnam War," protester Peter Eldridge, of Prescott, said. "All war does is kill people and make manufacturers rich and banks rich."

The 25 or so protesters were part of a much larger cohort of Congressional District 4 residents who want Congress to support the pending nuclear agreement with Iran. Activists on Wednesday presented 80 pages containing an estimated 1,300 signatures from across the congressional district to McCain and Rep. Paul Gosar's offices in Prescott.

"This is an urgent issue," Willis said.

Protesters were calling for the approval of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement between Iran, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, German and the European Union.

The agreement would require Iran to reduce its nuclear stockpiles and nuclear production capabilities for a period of 15 years and to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to its nuclear facilities. In return, other nations agreed to lift nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.

"To refuse this deal is to say that the alternative is war," protester Russ Willis, of Prescott, said. "The alternative of war is not an acceptable outcome."

The deal is currently awaiting a 60-day review period in Congress. Lawmakers have until Sept. 17 to approve or reject the deal, though President Barack Obama said he'll veto any disapproval resolution he receives from Capitol Hill.

Protesters in Prescott said their purpose was to send a message to Arizona's representatives in Washington, D.C.

Along with Gosar and McCain, Sen. Jeff Flake said he opposes the deal.

"They need to know their constituents feel differently," Willis said. "Not everyone is buying this propaganda that war with Iran is necessary."

A spokesman for Gosar's office said activists delivered the petitions Wednesday. Each signer of the petition will be individually entered into a database and will later receive a response from Gosar. The Daily Courier was unable to contact staff at McCain's Prescott office.

Follow reporter Les Bowen on Twitter @NewsyLesBowen. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 1110, or 928-830-9503.

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