Category Archives: Iran

IRAN: U.S., Iran use diplomacy to turn toward peace

Marie Dennisby Marie Dennis
Co-President, Pax Christi International

An old rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and the day had begun. “Could it be,” asked one of his students, “when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it’s a sheep or a dog?” “No,” answered the rabbi.

Another asked, “Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it&’s a fig tree or a peach tree?” “No,” answered the rabbi.

“Then when is it?” the pupils demanded. “It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your brother or sister. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night.” (from Peacemaking Day by Day, Pax Christi USA)

iran-nuclear-weapons-1Nine years ago, when the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program had provoked rumors of a U.S. military attack with bunker buster tactical nuclear weapons, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a New York-based group promoting social justice, sent an interfaith delegation to Iran with the aim of talking with ordinary Iranian citizens about peaceful solutions to the stand-off.

After their visit, Dave Robinson, then executive director of Pax Christi USA and a member of the 25-person delegation, wrote about meeting a group of young women in the town of Natanz, the site of the Iranian uranium enrichment facility, and imagining what would happen to them if the U.S. made good on its threat to bomb the site…

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REFLECTION: Two paths to peace – the secular and the sacred

Joan Chittister, osbby Joan Chittister, osb
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

In late July, while John Kerry sat across a table in Paris from Mohammed Zarif, chief Iranian negotiator for the Iranian-US nuclear treaty, I and six other Americans from the Global Peace Initiative of Women sat across tables from some of the major religious figures in Iran. We were in Qom, the Vatican of Shia Islam.

Iran-Nuclear-Deal-Congress-570x320One thing struck me: We were all working on behalf of peace, Kerry on one level, we on the another. He and his team were trying to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Our team — two Hindus, an Evangelical, a mainline Protestant, a Zen master, a Sufi and a Catholic nun — were hoping to find the common ground that makes having weapons of mass destruction unnecessary.

And we both knew, I suspect, that the fires of enmity burn slowly and long. At least if Washington and international affairs of any ilk are any proof of it. The problem is that international enmity is most often stoked by the memory of what “they did to us.” Seldom, if ever, do we hear one of the parties talking about what “we did to them.”

Instead, we plead our innocence, all the while spewing distrust and dismay.

As television stations around the world played an unending series of photos showing John Kerry and the U.S. negotiating team locked in contest with Iranian negotiators over U.S. sanctions and Iranian nuclear plants, the world around them sat helpless. We all knew that if they failed it would be we who would become prey in this latest game of King of the Mountain...

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IRAN: Group of Christian leaders back Iran deal

from Politico

NOTE: Sr. Patty Chappell, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, and Marie Dennis, Co-President of Pax Christi International, have signed onto the letter referenced in this article.

Iran-Nuclear-Deal-Congress-570x320More than 50 Christian leaders have signed on to a letter urging members of Congress to “remember the wisdom of Jesus” and approve the nuclear deal with Iran, the latest in a growing lobbying push by religious groups favoring the agreement.

The signatories, who represent denominations and organizations ranging from Catholic to Quaker to Pentecostal, praise the deal’s technical provisions while also arguing its merits on moral grounds.

“As faith leaders from the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons in war, we have a particular responsibility to speak boldly when opportunities arise that lead to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at home and around the world,” the 53 faith leaders write. “This historic accord moves us one small step closer to a world free of nuclear weapons.”

The letter, which was sent to lawmakers Tuesday, goes on: “This is a moment to remember the wisdom of Jesus who proclaimed from the Sermon on the Mount, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God’ (Matthew 5:9). … There is no question we are all better off with this deal than without it.”…

Read the entire article by clicking here.

Read the letter by clicking here.

IRAN: Pax Christi New Jersey’s Official Statement on Senator Menendez’s rejection of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

from Pax Christi New Jersey

Iran-Nuclear-Deal-Congress-570x320Yesterday (August 18) during what was called a “major policy speech” Senator Menendez announced that he would not only vote against the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran he would also vote in favor of any veto override. While we are not surprised by Senator Menendez’s announcement, we are disappointed.

The leadership and the membership of Pax Christi New Jersey would like to respond to the senator that his past opposition to the war in Iraq is not a justification of his current rejection of diplomacy with Iran and the opportunity to build on a nuclear-free Middle East.

We agree with the Vatican and its 2014 statement on nuclear weapons entitled Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition, which stated “Now is the time to affirm not only the immorality of the use of nuclear weapons, but the immorality of their possession, thereby clearing the road to nuclear abolition.”  We believe that this agreement will set us on a path to not only curb Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon but also serve as an important step toward nuclear non-proliferation and ultimately nuclear abolition.

Pax Christi New Jersey sides with Pope Francis, the Vatican, the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and numerous other Catholic clergy, women religious and lay leaders in its belief that this agreement will foster greater dialogue and help create a more peaceful world.

In this month in which we marked the 70th anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons in war in the bombing of Hiroshima we all the more moved to action and we will continue, along with our members and allies, to lobby our legislators to support this historic deal with Iran.

IRAN: National Day of Action to Stop War with Iran, Wednesday, August 26

irannucleardealDiplomacy or war. That’s the choice facing Congress when it comes to the nuclear deal with Iran.

But unfortunately, too many members of Congress want to block this historic deal—and put on us on a path to another senseless war. President Obama is standing strong, and we need to make sure Congress stands with him.

That’s why on Wednesday, August 26, members of MoveOn, WinWithoutWar, Democracy for America, Credo, and many others will gather outside of Congressional offices across the country in support of diplomacy over war. It’s critical to show members of Congress that Americans support diplomacy with Iran, and that we conside a vote against the deal a vote for war. Host your own No War with Iran action or sign up for an event near you to join this historic day of action.

Host your own “No War with Iran” action or click here to sign up for an event near you.

IRAN: An invitation to join a conference call with faith leaders on the Iran deal this Thursday

Iran-Nuclear-Deal-Congress-570x320This Thursday, August 27th, you’re invited to join faith leaders for a national conference call on the Iran nuclear deal, “Faith in Action for the Iran Deal: A Conference Call with Faith Leaders.”

The featured speaker is Marie Harf, Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications to Secretary of State John Kerry. Ms. Harf led U.S. communications strategy on the Iran negotiations in Vienna.

Panelists include:

  • Jim Winkler: General Secretary, National Council of Churches
  • Diane Randall: Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • Marie Dennis: Co-President, Pax Christi International

Call Details:

Sponsors include Pax Christi International, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Institute Justice Team, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, LCWR and many others.