Category Archives: Iran

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...

Read the entire article by clicking here.

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.

IRAN: Take action and urge Congress to support Iran nuclear deal

Iran-Nuclear-Deal-Congress-570x320In December 2014, the Holy See issued a ground-breaking paper entitled Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition, which said, “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.” This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons in war – in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A week ago, July 14, 2015, a significant agreement between Iran, the P5+1 (the 5 permanent UN Security Council Members – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States – plus Germany) and the European Union was reached.  This is an important diplomatic accomplishment and is a critical step toward nuclear non-proliferation and, ultimately, nuclear abolition.

It is imperative that the Iran deal enter into force without obstacles created by the U.S. Congress. We must clearly express our support for the agreement as an important diplomatic accomplishment that will make all of us safer. Congress has until mid-September to reject the deal, otherwise it will go into force.

Please take action:  As members of PCUSA we invite you to do the following:

  1. Make an appointment to meet before Labor Day (September 7) with your senators and your Congressional representative to express your opinion about the Iran deal with a group of Pax Christi members, supporters/members of religious orders, JustFaith graduates, etc. It may be possible to meet the senators/representative in person, or with their senior staff, when they are home for the August recess. Use the talking points listed below to shape your message. This is not an appointment to discuss the merits of the agreement, but ask the Congresspersons/staff if they are able to support the deal.

Items to take with you to share with the offices:

  • Pax Christi International’s statement on the Iran deal, available here.
  • The Holy See’s paper on the immorality of possessing nuclear weapons, available here.
  • Letter from Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, NM, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, available here.
  1. Make an appointment with your bishop if you have not already done so. Assume that he has seen the letter from Bishop Cantú on the Iran deal and the Holy See’s statement on nuclear abolition, but in case he has not studied them, bring him a copy and ask him to encourage every parish in his diocese to highlight these important statements from Catholic leadership. Also give him a copy of Pax Christi International’s statement on the Iran deal and a brochure from Pax Christi USA. Urge him to become a member of PCUSA and to contact his Members of Congress himself.
  1. Send a letter to the editor of your local paper urging your senators and representative to support the Iran deal. Use the talking points listed below to shape your message.

We ask that ANY action that you take to meet with your Congressional Representatives and/or your local Bishops be reported with the results to Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, Program Director, at by Sept. 7, 2015.

This collaborative effort is sponsored by the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Sisters of Mercy, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach and Pax Christi USA and Pax Christi International.

We thank you for your willingness to participate in this important effort toward nuclear disarmament.

In Peace,

Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN
Pax Christi USA, Executive Director