Tag Archives: Iran

IRAN: What you need to know about the Iran nuclear negotiations

from The Huffington Post

Iran-nuclear-deal-1024x576International negotiators in Geneva have just over two weeks left to bring years of talks between Iran and six world powers to fruition by reaching a framework for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

Representatives of Iran and the so-called P5+1 group — the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany — have set a March 31 deadline to reach a basic understanding for a nuclear deal. The parties then have until the end of June to hammer out the remaining details.

The talks stem from international powers’ concern that Iran is using its nuclear enrichment program to build a nuclear weapon. Iran insists the program is only for peaceful purposes.

The WorldPost spoke with Ali Vaez, the International Crisis Group‘s senior analyst on Iran, about the ongoing talks…

Click here to read the interview.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE: Tell your senators, “Support a negotiated deal with Iran”

from the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy

NOTE: Pax Christi USA is a member of the Faith Forum. This is their “Third Thursday for Israel-Palestine” action for March. 

3rd Thurs graphic

A peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue is in the best interest of its neighbors in the region – including the Israelis and Palestinians – as well as the best interest of the United States and the world.  The U.S. and five other nations are currently engaged in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, with the hope of reaching a framework agreement this month and a comprehensive agreement by the end of June.  Such an agreement would offer a mechanism to monitor Iran’s compliance, a major accomplishment that could pave the way for much more robust and deliberate efforts to focus on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking without distraction.

As negotiations proceed, two bills in the Senate threaten to undermine diplomatic efforts.   S. 269 calls for new sanctions if a deal with Iran isn’t reached. S. 615 would require a delay in implementation if a deal is reached, require Congressional approval or disapproval of the deal, and add Congressional oversight on implementation of a deal.    Passing either of these bills could undermine negotiations at this important juncture.

Urge your Senators to support a negotiated solution with Iran. Call on them to oppose S. 269 and S. 615.

Read here a letter from 50 organizations urging the Senate to reject S. 615, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

For more information on the proposed legislation, see Americans for Peace Now’s Legislative Round-Up.

Contact your Senators today – urge them to support a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Click here to get their contact information.

Sample Letter, Email, Call Script:

Dear Senator,

As a person of faith who seeks a peaceful world, I urge you to support the current diplomatic effort by the U.S. and five other countries to engage with Iran to reach a resolution regarding its nuclear program.

As negotiations proceed, two bills in the Senate threaten to undermine diplomatic efforts. S. 269 calls for new sanctions if a deal with Iran isn’t reached. S. 615 would require a delay in implementation if a deal is reached, require Congressional approval or disapproval of the deal, and add Congressional oversight on implementation of a deal. Passing either of these bills could undermine negotiations at this important juncture.

I urge you to oppose S. 269 and S. 615, in order to give room for diplomacy to work and to address this important regional issue.  Progress in these negotiations could result in renewed energy and focus on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Your name

IRAN: Bishop Cantu reiterates bishops’ support for dialogue over Iran’s nuclear program

from the USCCB

WASHINGTON—Congress should avoid measures that jeopardize the prospects of a diplomatic solution over Iran’s nuclear program, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

iran-nuclear-weapons-1
In his January 13 letter, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, reiterated his committee’s support for the United States and its P5 + 1 partners in their ongoing dialogue with Iran.

“Our Committee urges Congress not to take any actions that could undermine the negotiation process or make a responsible multi-party agreement more difficult to achieve,” wrote Bishop Cantú. “Given the long history of acrimonious and tense relations, it is vital to continue to foster an environment in which all parties can build mutual confidence and trust in order to work towards a final accord that enhances genuine peace.”

Bishop Cantú noted Pope Francis’ expression of support for the negotiations the day before, as well as the Vatican’s statement affirmation of diplomacy in the matter from September 2013…

Read the entire letter here.

TAKE ACTION: Protect nuclear diplomacy with Iran! Netanyahu stay home!

from United for Peace and Justice

[Pax Christi USA is a member organization of United for Peace and Justice.]

The last thing the world needs is another Middle East confrontation. Yet there are politicians in both political parties, who seem determined to create one. Although the international negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program have made significant progress, Senators Kirk and Menendez are reviving legislation that would threaten Iran with new sanctions.

President Obama made it clear in his State of the Union Address that such legislation would kill the prospects for a deal.  The EU and UK also have called on the U.S. Congress to use restraint so as not to undermine negotiations. Although President Obama is threatening to veto the bill should it be passed in both Houses,there is areal danger that there may be enough Aye votes in the Senate to override a veto. The only way to prevent this outcome is for massive grassroots pressure.

Speaker Boehner’s decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the Congress on this subject and the latter’s acceptance of this invitation attests to the toxic role, which this right-wing Israeli government and its American allies, including AIPAC are continuing to play in American politics. It is high time that thisaggressive intervention in American foreign policy cease. Even if you have already called, pick up the phone and call your Senators again.

DC Congressional Switchboard is 202-224-3121 Ask to be connected toboth your Senators.  Let them know:

  • You are opposed to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s intervention in American national security policy.

  • You support the Obama Administration’s diplomacy with Iran and believe it is in the best interest of the United States and the rest of the world.

  • You are strongly opposed to the Menendez-Kirk effort to push a sanctions bill through the Senate.

When you make this call ask the staff member where the Senator stands on these issues. Please pass along any responses to rustiangael@unitedforpeace.org.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition asking our elected officials to employ diplomacy with Iran

Pax Christi USA has signed onto the following letter to Members of Congress asking them to choose diplomacy over sanctions in engaging Iran. We encourage you to add your name to the petition today.

To our elected officials:

iranAs Catholics who love our country and believe in its power to promote peace and stability in the world, we urge you and your colleagues to oppose additional sanctions or take any other action at this time that could undermine the negotiation process with Iran over its nuclear program.

Pope Francis and the Vatican have made it clear: “The Holy See is firmly convinced that the present difficulties [in Iran] can and must be overcome through diplomatic channels, making use of all the means that diplomacy has at its disposal, and considers it necessary to overcome the various obstacles which impede mutual trust.”

Unfortunately, some in the Senate are seeking to immediately impose additional sanctions on Iran. This is an unacceptable approach that will only make the already narrow path towards peace all the more difficult.

Given the complex and difficult relationship our country has with Iran, it is important to take every step necessary to create an environment of mutual trust in order that all parties involved can work towards a solution that promotes authentic and sustaining peace.

We’re encouraged by the recent steps that the Administration has taken to engage the Iranian leadership and hope to see that process continue uninterrupted.

A peaceful resolution in Iran will require tremendous work and sustained negotiations over time. But make no mistake: these ends are much better achieved through the channels of dialogue than through newly imposed sanctions from Congress. Therefore, we encourage you and your colleagues to be patient and to avoid any measures that could threaten the prospects for a diplomatic solution that can advance peace and security in the region.

Click here to sign on.

ON THE LINE: December 2013 edition features actions on the death penalty, immigration reform, SOA and more

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

PC AUSTIN (TX) CO-SPONSORS ANTI-DEATH PENALTY OBSERVANCE: (by Bob Rankin) “This year, Pax Christi Austin joined with the Friends Meeting of Austin (Quaker) and the Episcopal Peace Fellowship to plan and sponsor our annual Sant’Egidio ‘Cities For Life’ Vigil on Nov. 30th. We gathered at the Plaza in front of Austin City Hall where we prayed, reflected on the death penalty in Texas, the United States, and sang. We had approached a City Council Member asking for a proclamation and received one. Finally we processed through a few city blocks of restaurants and business with ‘No More Executions!’ signs and ‘sandwich boards’ with the names of the 507 executed in Texas since 1976.”

Pax Christi Austin (TX) members march against the death penalty as part of "Cities for Life" in November. Photo by Bob Kinney

Pax Christi Austin (TX) members march against the death penalty as part of “Cities for Life” in November. Photo by Bob Kinney

PCUSA TEACHER OF PEACE BISHOP GUMBLETON SHARES ADVENT HOMILY WITH NEW PC GROUP IN MISSISSIPPI: (in NCR) “During this day, when we are spending time as a Pax Christi group (at St. Richard’s Parish), trying to determine how we can best live out the commitment we make when we join Pax Christi, it is very clear that our Scripture lessons provide us with very important ideas and important things for us to reflect on, think about, to become truly peacemakers, making Pax Christi the peace of Christ come about in our world. We’re celebrating the season of Advent, of course, and I’m sure all of us remember that and realize and experience that this is a season of hope — hope for the coming of Jesus. But we also have to remember that Jesus came historically almost 2,000 years ago, and we can hardly hope for something that has already happened. So what are we hoping for?”… Read more at http://ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/give-violence-prepare-final-coming-god

MICHAEL WALLI NAMED PEACEMAKER OF THE YEAR: (by Joshua McElwee in NCR) “It was the kind of celebration that, six months ago, Michael Walli might have enjoyed: Simple plates of spaghetti and salad, gathered friends, and an award for a noted local peacemaker. Except that award went to Walli himself, who could not accept because he is imprisoned some 700 miles away in a private detention facility in Georgia. Members of the DC/Baltimore chapter of the international Catholic peace group Pax Christi awarded their annual peacemaker of the year award to Walli Sunday anyway, honoring him in absentia and organizing their members to write to the judge urging leniency for the activist and the two others in his group…” Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/11/30/regional-event-pax-christi-metro-dc-baltimore-honors-peacemaker-of-the-year/

Seven plowshares activists seen together at the Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore Peacemaker of the Year event. They are holding a sign created by the late Philip Berrigan, who participated in the first action in 1980. Photo by Ted Majdosz

Seven plowshares activists seen together at the Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore Peacemaker of the Year event. They are holding a sign created by the late Philip Berrigan, who participated in the first action in 1980. Photo by Ted Majdosz

PAX CHRISTI MEMBERS FROM ACROSS THE NATION CONVERGE ON THE SOA: “On Friday night, 200 Pax Christi USA members and friends gathered at the Columbus Convention Center for Pax Christi USA’s annual gathering at the SOA. This year’s presentation was entitled, ‘Gun Violence Has No Room in the Spirituality of Peacemaking,’ with presentations from Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Kathy Kelly and Pax Christi USA Executive Director Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN. The evening started with a welcome from Cathy Crosby, former member of the Pax Christi USA National Council, and Carole Lacour of Pax Christi Atlanta, with both serving as the emcees for the evening…” Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/11/26/soa-report-back-from-the-annual-vigil-and-action-at-the-soa/

PC New Mexico members Ellie Voutselas and Bud Ryan at the SOA. Photo by Johnny Zokovitch

PC New Mexico members Ellie Voutselas and Bud Ryan at the SOA during Sunday’s funeral procession. Photo by Johnny Zokovitch

PC METRO NY ISSUES ADVENT REFLECTION: “Hurry up and wait!  Sadly, this could be the theme for many each Advent. We hurry to shop. We hurry to write Christmas cards. We hurry to cook and bake. We hurry to decorate. We hurry, hurry, hurry. Then we wait. We wait on lines in stores or on the web. We wait for deliveries. We wait in traffic. We wait and wait and wait. Actually, Advent is about preparing, which we’re doing when we do all that scurrying about, and it’s about waiting, but the preparation and the waiting are a bit different…” Read more at http://www.nypaxchristi.org/reflection.html

PC METRO DC-BALTIMORE MEMBERS JOIN FAST4FAMILIES: (by Scott Wright) “On November 12, faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders announced the launch of “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” taking place on the National Mall, steps away from the Capitol. On that day, Eliseo Medina, DJ Yoon, Christian Avila, and Lisa Sharon Harper began a fast to move the hearts and compassion of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship. In their statement the four fasters asked: “What is our faith, our words and our history worth if not translated into action, sacrifice and redemption?” … Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/12/13/reflection-a-light-shines-in-the-darkness-immigrant-fast-for-justice/

PC ILLINOIS MEMBERS ACT FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM: (by Tom Cordaro) “For years immigrant communities and their supporters have been marching, canvasing, writing letters, lobbying politicians, holding educational events, telling their stories and praying for an end to the pain, suffering and fear caused by our broken immigration system.  In spite of all this effort nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants have been forcibly deported leaving nearly 3 million children without a parent. In the face of so much preventable human suffering there comes a time when good order must be interrupted so the cries of children can be heard. This is why I joined 141 immigrant activists in blocking a major intersection in downtown Chicago on November 6th…” Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/11/19/immigration-this-is-what-america-looks-like/

Pax Christi Illinois members (including Tom Cordaro, PCUSA Ambassador of Peace, bottom right corner) join the immigration reform action in Chicago.

Pax Christi Illinois members (including Tom Cordaro, PCUSA Ambassador of Peace, bottom right corner) join the immigration reform action in Chicago.

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Dec. 28 – Feast of the Holy Innocents actions and observances

Jan. 1-31 – January is Poverty Awareness Month, http://www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/povertyusa/upload/poverty-awareness-month-calendar.pdf

Jan. 6-13, Jan. 11 – Witness Against Torture’s Fast for Justice from the 6th through the 13th and Jan. 11th actions to Close Guantanamo. Visit  http://witnesstorture.org/blog/2013/12/05/december-wat-trial-january-action-dates-announced/ for more information.

Jan. 26 – Peacemaking through the Arts: “Luke Live!” with PC-Metro New York Board member,  Fr. James DiLuzio, CSP. “Luke Live!” is a dramatic proclamation of the Gospel of Luke interspersed with Song Meditations, highlighting the peace and justice components in Luke’s Gospel. At St. Joseph’s Greenwich Village Church from 2:30 to 4:30pm.

Quicklinks:

PC Metro DC-Baltimore member Donna Grimes’ son was featured in an article in The Washington Post following the Trayvon Martin verdict earlier this year … For Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, Pax Christi El Paso (TX) collaborated with El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty and the El Paso chapter of CURE to protest the death penalty, mass incarceration, and abuse of solitary confinement, demonstrating in front of the county courthouse … PCUSA Program Director Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN presented at the Ignatian Family Teach-in in November in DC … PC Massachusetts member David O’Brien reflects on the legacy of JFKFormer Pax Christi USA Policy Director Jean Stokan had a letter to the editor published in The Washington Post regarding the ongoing situation in Honduras … PC Pacific NW member Nick Mele writes on the negotiations with IranPC Metro DC-Baltimore member Judy Coode has co-edited a book of reflections for next year’s liturgical readings for Orbis Press … PC Illinois members protested outside Rep. Roskam’s office after he repeatedly refused to meet with them … Former PCUSA interns Amy Watts and Manuel Padilla are now working in Chad with Jesuit Refugee Services and writing a blog about their experiences … PCUSA Teacher of Peace and PC Birmingham (AL) member Jim Douglass was featured on the Peace Talks radio programPax Christi USA gives thanks for the life of Nelson MandelaPax Christi International’s December 2013 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Fall 2013 edition of The Peace Current

IRAN: Talking about the agreement with Iran

Nick Meleby Nicke Mele
Pax Christi Pacific Northwest

For the last few days, the news and commentary has featured a good deal of back and forth about the utility and viability of the recently-announced short-term agreement with Iran on its nuclear development program. Several key factors do not get discussed by either critics or defenders.

First of all, there is very little historical or geopolitical context mentioned. One reason Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries are critical of the agreement is that most of these Islamic nations are ruled by a Sunni majority or plurality; the population of Iran is Farsi and overwhelmingly Shi’a. It is not necessary to know the historic and theological roots of the split in Islam but it is germane to Arab reactions to the prospect of a nuclear-capable Iran to know that in many of the most powerful Arab nations, Sunni majorities have treated their Shi’ite as second-class Muslims. Fear of an ascendant , non-Arab Shi’a nation influences attitudes toward Iran.

In the West, the history is not as long but Iran was a place where Britain and Russia (and later Germany) sought access and influence at first because of its geographic location and later its petroleum reserves. Iran fell well within the Czarist Russian sphere of influence throughout most of the nineteenth century, a fact which does much to explain Russia’s contemporary role there and in Syria. The history of Iran relayed via our media is superficial but not trivial, focused more on the last 30 or so years but not on the U.S.-engineered 1953 coup that installed the Pahlavi family as monarchs or the dark side of the Shah’s rule, which led directly to the Islamic Revolution in Iran…

Click here to read more.