The dangerous climate created by the current tensions between the United States and Iran could lead to war. Both governments need to commit to diplomatic talks to ease the tensions and reduce the likelihood of armed conflict. Seymour Hersh reports that steps may already be underway that could lead to war.
A majority of the U.S. public supports diplomacy with Iran,but members of Congress have introduced legislation that could lead to war. New legislation in the House (H.Con.Res. 362) calls for new sanctions on Iran and demands that the president initiate a partial land, sea, and air blockade of Iran.
At last month’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a resolution was adopted opposing preemptive war with Iran, either by the United States or any other nation. The Assembly supported peaceful, diplomatic means of resolving the tensions developing as a result of Iran’s pursuit of its nuclear program. And, it called for direct,unconditional negotiations between the United States and Iran with the goal of finding and implementing a peaceful resolution.
The threat of a war with Iran will continue to grow if the United States does not take steps now to open communication with the Iranian government.
Urge your representative to oppose more sanctions and any blockade against Iran.
Ask your representative to oppose a House vote on H. Con. Res. 362. If he or she is already a cosponsor, ask her or him to take themselves off. If he or she is not a cosponsor, urge him or her not to become one.
Tell your representative that imposing more sanctions and blockades, when direct talks have not even been tried, risks propelling the United States into another unnecessary war that would have disastrous consequences.
Threatening war with Iran has not resolved the current dispute over nuclear policy. Talking might. Five former secretaries of state have urged the United States to open a dialogue with Iran to find common ground and resolve differences. Business groups such as USA*Engage have argued that legislation calling for sanctions on Iran, rather than talks, is counterproductive. Retired military leaders have joined the chorus.
The 218th General Assembly (2008) directs the Stated Clerk to send the following resolution to the President of the United Stated of America and the United States Congress:
1. That the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) supports a peaceful, diplomatic means to resolve the tensions developing as a result of Iran’s pursuit of its nuclear program, between the United States and Iran.
2. That the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) calls for direct,unconditional negotiations between the United States and Iran with the goal of finding and implementing a peaceful resolution.
3. That the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is opposed to preemptive military action by any nation against Iran.
4. That the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) calls for a renewed effort at all levels—people-to-people, interfaith groups, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and government—to help the United States and Iran eliminate the tensions that have existed between our two nations and to unite the American and Iranian people in a common effort to solve the problems of poverty, illness, and climate change.
This posting is adapted from the July 8, 2008 issue of the Witness in Washington Weekly by the Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).