JPANet Action Alert: No new sanctions on Iran
“Our sacred scriptures all point to our calling as disciples and peacemakers, to do what we can to bring healing into the world, not hurt, to end bloodshed, not to initiate it, to stop the killing and terrorizing of children and adults, and to make all of God’s Creation a safe place in which to live.” – General Synod 27, Resolution for Solidarity and Friendship with Iran
In recent months, Iran agreed to freeze its nuclear weapons enrichment program for a period of 6-12 months, during which time a permanent agreement to end Iran’s nuclear weapon program would be negotiated. That agreement, achieved through negotiations with the US and international community, goes in effect this week (Jan. 20), and progress is already being made.
Despite this progress toward improved diplomatic relations with Iran, Congress has in recent weeks introduced legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran should current negotiations fail. The Senate is set to vote on a bill (S. 1881) that would do just that; the House is considering introducing similar legislation. President Obama has threatened to veto such legislation given the destabilizing and antithetical impact it would have on current diplomatic efforts.
It is critical that Congress not undermine diplomatic progress toward ending Iran’s nuclear weapon program. The Negotiators warn that passage of new sanctions and demands would undermine the current interim agreement and likely end prospects for a comprehensive nuclear pact. New sanctions could even be interpreted as a hostile act, risking conflict and further destabilizing the region at a time when the U.S. has pulled back its presence there.
In 2009, the United Church of Christ passed a Synod Resolution calling for “Solidarity and Friendship with Iran” based on our witness as a Just Peace church and the biblical values of shalom and friendship. It expressed our desire and vision for a new relationship between the US and Iran that was built on friendship and engagement rather than fear and isolation. Now is the time for the US to support diplomatic efforts to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and forge a more peaceful relationship between our two nations.