Now is the time for the United States to salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. With a new administration and a Catholic president in the White House, we invite Catholics to sign this petition (sign-on link is below) urging President Biden to offer sanctions relief as a first step and a show of good faith to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.
Time is of the essence. Iranian elections will be held in June, and hardliners are promoting the message that President Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal proves Iran should neither trust nor negotiate with the U.S. Currently, the Biden Administration and Iran are at a stalemate, with both sides insisting that the other must move first to come back into compliance with the deal. European partners have invited both countries to renew dialogue, and the Biden administration has accepted the invitation, but, as of this writing, Iran is holding out. It is clear the Biden team is seeking ways to save face and maintain a tough posture regarding Iran’s advancement of its nuclear program and other behavior in the region, while convincing Iran to return to the JCPOA. But U.S. sanctions have failed to move Iran in a positive direction, and they are crippling the country’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump’s decision to leave the deal severely damaged trust in the U.S., and that mistrust cannot now be leveraged to bring Iran back into compliance. President Biden must offer sanctions relief as a concrete demonstration of our commitment to diplomacy and the restoration of the agreement.
Many Catholic voices were raised in support of the JCPOA when then-Vice President Biden was promoting it in 2015. It is vital that he hear from us now and know that we support unilateral sanctions relief aimed at saving the Iran Deal. Tensions between our two countries are high, and missteps could quickly divide the two governments irrevocably. A letter from national Catholic organizations will be delivered to President Biden, with a copy to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on February 26. This petition will be shared with the Administration as a follow-up to that letter, to show widespread Catholic support for sanctions relief as a first step toward salvaging the JCPOA. Sign now, and help spread the word!