The Faith Community Supports the Iran Deal

On September 24, 2015, Pope Francis will address the U.S. Congress. His visit builds upon years of pro-diplomacy advocacy by the U.S. faith community and by Pope Francis.

Pope Francis and the Vatican

Pope Francis “May one cry rise up from every land, ‘No’ to war and violence and ‘Yes’ to dialogue and to peace. With war one always loses. The only way to win a war is never to wage it.” [8/9]

Pope Francis- “In hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.” [4/5]

Pope Francis- “I wish to encourage sincere and open dialogue between parties internal to each nuclear state, between various nuclear states, and between nuclear states and non-nuclear states, This dialogue must be inclusive, involving international organizations, religious communities and civil society, and oriented towards the common good and not the protection of vested interests. ‘A world without nuclear weapons’ is a goal shared by all nationals and echoed by world leaders, as well as the aspiration of millions of men and women. The future and the survival of the human family hinges on moving beyond this ideal and ensuring that it becomes a reality.” [12/7/2014]

Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations- “The reduction of the nuclear threat and disarmament requires a global ethic. Now more than ever the facts of technological and political interdependence cry out for an ethic of solidarity in which we work with one another for a less dangerous, morally responsible global future.” [12/8/2014]

Statement by the Holy See- “The agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See. It constitutes an important outcome of the negotiations carried out so far, although continued efforts and commitment on the part of all involved will be necessary in order for it to bear fruit.” [7/14]

Statement by the Holy See- “The Holy See values positively this agreement because it considers that the way to resolve disputes and difficulties should always be that of dialogue and negotiation… The full implementation of JCPOA will ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme under the NPT and will be a definitive step toward greater stability and security in the region.” [9/15]

The Faith Community

Over 4100 Catholic Sisters- The Iran deal “provides an extraordinary opportunity for the global community to risk peace in a region that continues to witness the ravaging effects of violence and war as a modus operandi for addressing conflict.” [9/2]

51 Christian Leaders- “This agreement moves us further away from the possibility of war and another nuclear-armed nation. There is no question we are all better off with this deal than without it.” [8/24]

340 American Rabbis- “We are deeply concerned with the impression that the leadership of the American Jewish community is united in opposition to the agreement. We, along with many other Jewish leaders, fully support this historic nuclear accord.” [8/17]

26 Jewish Leaders, including former AIPAC official Thomas Dine- “While not perfect, this deal is the best available option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.” [8/20]

98 Prominent Hollywood Jews, including philanthropist Eli Broad; Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry; TV writer-producer Norman Lear; and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner- “We strongly approve the proposed Iran nuclear agreement… Congress killing the deal would be a tragic mistake.” [8/12]

70 organizations, including Adorers of the Blood of Christ; Adrian Dominican Sisters; Church World Service; Conference of Major Superiors of Men; Congregation of Notre Dame USA Peace and Justice Office; Franciscan Sisters of the Poor JPIC; NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; Sinsinawa Dominicans- “This historic agreement is a victory for national security, for the American people, and people around the world. This agreement blocks any potential pathway for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. It accomplishes this not through trust or hope, but through ironclad, verifiable mechanisms, including an unprecedented inspections regime. And importantly, it resolves this pressing national security concern without resorting to military force.” [8/27]

40 organizations, including the American Friends Service Committee; United Church of Christ; Pax Christi International; Presbyterian Church (USA); United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society; Conference of Major Superiors of Men; Friends Committee on National Legislation; United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries; Sojourners; Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness; Mennonite Central Committee US- “We do not want to see the critical progress that American diplomacy has achieved… derailed by some in Congress who prefer military adventurism over diplomatic solutions. Your vote will determine whether the U.S. secures peace and cuts off Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, or rejects diplomacy in favor of an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program and a new push for war.” [6/30]

Lance Billingsley, Friends Committee on National Legislation- “This comprehensive agreement will keep Iran from a nuclear bomb and keep the United States from yet another devastating war in the Middle East. In voting for the deal, [Congress] will be siding with the majority of nuclear and nonproliferation experts supporting this deal.” [7/13]

Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK- “For the first time in years, diplomacy had triumphed over military options. Finally. It is incomprehensible that any reasonably thoughtful person could oppose this historic step toward peace. After years of bloodshed and suffering, it is time we realize that diplomacy, combined with humanitarian efforts and economic development, are the real path to peace and stability. I agree with the president that it would be “irresponsible” to walk away from the Iran agreement. It would also be immoral. My message to Congress is this: Vote for this agreement so that people triumph over terror. Vote for this agreement so that peace triumphs over destruction. Vote for this agreement so that, at least in part, the community of nations is made more whole.” [7/16]

Bishop Oscar Cantu, US Conference of Catholic Bishops- “The United States and its international partners have taken a remarkable step with Iran in reaching this agreement. We encourage Congress to support these efforts to build bridges that foster peace and greater understanding. In the words of Pope Francis, may the negotiated framework ‘be a definitive step toward a more security and fraternal world,’ a goal we all share.” [7/14]

Friends Committee on National Legislation- “Diplomacy has carved out a future that keeps Iran from the bomb, and keeps the United States from another catastrophic war in the Middle East. A clear majority of the American people and national security and non-proliferation experts are calling on members of Congress to support, not sabotage, this historic accomplishment.” [7/14]

J Street- “Following our own review of the agreement, we expect to call on Congress to support the deal as the best—if not only—means of ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.” [7/14]

Jewish Voice for Peace- “We can’t let those who oppose this deal pretend they speak for the American Jewish community. We’ve come too far to give up now. This deal is an incredible opportunity to prove that peace comes from negotiation, not endless war.” [7/14]

Rev. Jim Lewis, West Virginia Patriots for Peace- “The chaos unleashed by our nation’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 now demands a shuffling of the deck in the Middle East. A new game must be played, and Iran must be at the table. The Iran Nuclear Agreement is the invitation for Iran to join the game.” [8/28]

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick- “I applaud the fact that a major issue of dispute in this very volatile region was resolved through negotiation and not armed conflict.” [7/16]

National Jewish Democratic Council- “The deal accomplishes the core goals of negotiations and will ultimately lead to a safer and more secure region. This was a deal aimed at halting Iran’s march towards a nuclear weapon, and we find it will do exactly that.” [7/17]

Bishop Richard E. Pates, Des Moines Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church- “Happily, six major nations have chosen the path of dialogue to resolve the serious questions about Iran’s nuclear program. It has indeed taken time, as well as patience and perseverance. To build peace requires painstaking work. Dialogue is not easy. Building trust through rigorous verification measures is even more difficult. Yet the alternative of armed conflict is morally unacceptable. Armed force is not just another alternative; it must be a reluctant last resort. First and always, we must try to resolve differences peacefully. In the process, we build peace.” [7/16]

Pax Christi International- “Pax Christi International applauds this important diplomatic accomplishment as a critical step toward nuclear non-proliferation and, ultimately, nuclear abolition…We urge full support for this agreement and pray that its successful implementation will be a turning point for all nations away from the acquisition, possession, or modernization of nuclear weapons and toward their abolition worldwide.” [7/14]

The Shalom Center- “The alternative to this agreement is war – a disaster for Israel, the whole Middle East, and the United States. Those who lied us into the Iraq war are pursuing the same disastrous path now. And this time the disaster would be even greater.” [7/14]

Rev. Al Sharpton, President, National Action Network- “It’s quite simple really, voting against the Iran deal would virtually guarantee that we go to war yet again. Because we – Blacks and Latinos – are often on the front lines of battle, we do not want another senseless war. Perhaps it’s time our Senators and members of Congress listen to us and not the lobbyists.” [8/17]

United Church of Christ, Just Peace- “We’ve come too far to let the Iran Deal and the chance for secure peace slip away. Urge Congress to support the deal.” [7/14]

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops- We “welcome the momentous agreement just reached between the US and its P5+1 partners. This significant achievement aims to curb Iran’s development of nuclear weapons while allowing them to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.” [7/14]

Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners- “Many of us in the faith community have called for diplomacy instead of the only plausible alternative: war with Iran. Other options simply aren’t possible. Theologically, pursuing options that will prevent further war with more dangerous weapons is the right course of action in a highly imperfect world. Giving serious diplomacy and international pressure a chance before contemplating military action is both a better strategic option and a more Christian one.” [7/14]

Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners- “We must start with the question, ‘What can we best do to make peace?’ After a careful review of the agreement, I believe that supporting the agreement and praying for its success is the best we can do to make peace.” [8/27]

Jim Winkler, National Council of Churches- “The Iran nuclear deal shows us that complicated international disagreements can be resolved peacefully and without resorting to war.” [8/27]