Tell Congress: Stand for Peace and Diplomacy with Iran
In 2015, the United States along with China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Germany (P5+1) completed negotiations with Iran and agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal. In May 2018, Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and implemented a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran including sanctions. Despite the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s verification that Iran had been in compliance with all terms of the JCPOA until May 2019, Iran gradually ceased complying with limits under the accord, considering the US withdrawal as the nullification of the agreement. The other signatories have urged the US to return to the JCPOA, as the EU has suggested a forum for negotiations. Iran’s nuclear program can now advance without effective restraints, and tensions have increased in the region. Meanwhile, the Iranian people have experienced the impact of punishing U.S. sanctions.
After four years of Trump’s failed and reckless maximum pressure campaign, President Biden has a great opportunity to return to diplomacy with Iran. But that window of opportunity is narrow, and domestic political opposition is formidable. A US return to the nuclear deal on a “compliance for compliance” basis will ensure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons in the near future, promote the long-term stability of the region, provide an opportunity to build on an established deal to address other outstanding issues of concern from a position of greater trust, and demonstrate to key allies that the US is committed again to global engagement and diplomacy.
As a Just Peace Church, the United Church of Christ has long advocated for diplomatic and peaceful engagement with Iran, and for the cessation of the “testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons.” We have spoken out on multiple occasions in opposition to inflammatory rhetoric and direct provocation that could ultimately lead to war. And the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) adopted a resolution at its 2015 General Assembly in support of the JCPOA.