Office of Public Witness issues Action Alert on reducing tension, avoiding war with Iran

Following recent U.S. actions, Presbyterians are urged to contact their members of Congress

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Office of Public Witness has issued an Action Alert, calling on Presbyterians to urge their representatives and senators to help reduce tension and avoid conflict in Iran.

“After withdrawing from the Iran deal last spring,” the Action Alert states, “the Trump Administration has taken several steps that have increased tension in the region.” The administration has imposed numerous sanctions since withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action a year ago, sanctions that have had serious economic impact on Iran.

The situation has continued to escalate, with Iran threatening to resume high level uranium enrichment in response to the sanctions, and the Trump Administration dispatching an aircraft carrier strike group to send a “clear and unmistakable” message.

By clicking here, Presbyterians can send a message to their elected officials containing their thoughts on easing the growing crisis.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has at several points in recent years lifted up the value of reduced tensions and open dialogue with Iran. The most recent General Assembly affirmed the value of respectful understanding and reducing tensions between the government and 82 million people of Iran.

To prevent the United States from launching another disastrous war, Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced S. 1039, bipartisan legislation to prohibit the use of funds for military operations in or against Iran without prior authorization from Congress. Representatives Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., introduced similar legislation in the House (H.R. 2354).

Asking one’s representative or senator to co-sponsor S. 1039 or Hr. 2354 can be done by clicking here.

General Assembly guidance

In support of the hard work required for peacemaking and nuclear disarmament, the 223rd General Assembly (2018):

  • Encouraged all parties to the “Iran Nuclear Deal,” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to continue to comply with the terms of that agreement.
  • Urged the government of the United States to reconsider its unilateral withdrawal from the agreement, particularly in light of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s reporting that Iran was in full compliance with its provisions and the way the deal was seen to be helping open that society to further positive change.
  • Affirmed the value of respectful understanding and reducing tensions with the government and 82 million people of Iran of whom two-thirds are Persian and one-third a variety of ethnicities and non-Shiite Muslim religious traditions, including Christians — some of whom will suffer from association with unwise actions by Western nations.
  • Opposed punitive sanctions on U.S. and European-based non-military companies and nongovernmental organizations as ultimately ineffective, if not counterproductive.
  • Opposed efforts to increase hostilities with Iran, which do not seem to serve U.S. interests.
  • Urged Congress to fulfill its responsibility to hold hearings and otherwise hold the administration accountable for faithful execution of the laws related to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, and to effective diplomacy and statecraft in general, so that the U.S. may be a reliable partner to its allies and an upholder of international law.
  • Directed the Presbyterian Mission Agency (through its Office of Public Witness and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations), the Office of the General Assembly, and other Presbyterian agencies to include this resolution in their witness, and urged members, congregations, and presbyteries to continue to support peace and reconciliation efforts, and to include the people of Iran, as well as our mission partners, in their prayer, study, and witness.

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