Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq


For information on Iraq since May 2003, please visit

12 actions for 12 years of sanctions

[Back to the Index of 12 actions]

1 - Write to your MP

Below are two possible topics for letters to your MP, including points to make and questions you might like to ask about the Government’s sanctions policy. You can also ask your MP to forward your concerns to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Letters to MPs inform them of the strength of public concern over a given issue. For every letter they receive on a specific topic, MPs know there are a significant number of other people who share the opinion. As few as five or six letters on the same subject are often enough to persuade an MP to take an issue seriously.

- If you need to find out who your MP is, you can do so at your local library or town hall, or by phoning 020 7219 4272 and giving your postcode. If you have internet access, you can look your MP up at

- You can send letters to your MP at:

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

- You can also send a fax to your MP at


‘Smart Sanctions’ - Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1409

  • Welcome the resolution as a recognition of the need for measures to be taken to alleviate humanitarian suffering in Iraq, but express disappointment that after a year of negotiations so little has been done to address the needs of the Iraqi people, especially with respect to income.
  • Express hope that the Goods Review List will not be used to prevent the import into Iraq of items necessary for rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.
  • Question why the resolution does not allow foreign investment in Iraq and does not allow Iraq to export goods other than oil, steps necessary for the reinflation and diversification of the Iraqi economy.
  • Note that the ‘oil for food’ programme is not a long term solution and that on 2 March 2001 the United Nations Secretary General said that "the programme was never meant to meet all the needs of the Iraqi people and cannot be a substitute for normal economic activity in Iraq." Question how the needs of the Iraqi people will be met in the long term.

(More information on SCR 1409 can be found in CASI’s July newsletter.)


Conditions for lifting/suspending sanctions

  • In February 2002 US Secretary of State Colin Powell said "Sanctions and the pressure of sanctions are part of a strategy of regime change". Ask whether the British government agrees with this statement.
  • Question whether Iraq is being given enough incentive to allow weapons inspections. Statements such as that of Colin Powell above indicate that even if Iraq cooperates fully with weapons inspections sanctions will not be lifted.
  • SCR 1284 states that if Iraq cooperates with weapons inspections for 120 days then sanctions will be suspended "subject to the elaboration of effective financial and other operational measures to ensure that Iraq does not acquire prohibited items". The nature of these measures has never been elaborated. Ask the government what they would be.

You will probably receive in return from your MP a letter toeing the party line. If they do contact the FCO on your behalf, the response they pass on to you will probably be based on a standard letter setting out government policy. Replying to this letter with counter arguments will let your MP know that you did not accept the government line and may also be informative for her/him. Ask them what their own opinion is, rather than that of their party.

If you would like help responding to any points raised in a reply please contact CASI.



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