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CSJP Leadership Team Statement on Negotiations with Iran

We, the Sisters and Associates of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, are a Congregation committed to our charism of peace through justice and care for the environment.

In accord with our tradition
we commit ourselves to promote peace  
in family life, in the church, and in society.
We strive to respect the dignity of all persons
to value the gifts of creation,
and to confront oppressive situations.
We respond to God's people in need
and promote social justice
as a way to peace. Constitution # 11

Furthermore, in our Chapter Acts of 2008 we committed our Congregation:

  • to nonviolence grounded in contemplative prayer and reflection
  • to nonviolence practiced in our daily lives and ministries
  • to nonviolence in the protection of all life
  • to active nonviolence as we resist the reality of evil

Seeds of Peace Chapter Act, Growing on Nonviolence

We, the Leadership Team, are compelled at this time to speak out concerning the negotiations between Iran and the five permanent member nations of the UN Security Council (U.S., U.K., France, China and Russia) plus Germany as the major trading partner and producer of many of the products being used to enable Iran's nuclear capability.

1) We cannot begin without acknowledging the inherent irony and hypocrisy in six nuclear-armed nations attempting to deny that capacity to another nation. We firmly believe that it is in the best interest of creation and the world community that all nations lay down their nuclear weapons and that the negotiations toward that end begin immediately. (See: Nuclear Disarmament: A Time for Abolition, A contribution of the Holy See, Dec, 2014)

2) We believe it is in the best interest of world peace that Iran not have access to nuclear weapons and the infrastructure needed to create them. This is based on evidence that Iran has been identified as a state sponsor of revolutionary groups in other nations that employ indiscriminate violence in trying to achieve their revolutionary aims. Iran has also refused to acknowledge the existence of the State of Israel.

3) We defend the right of the State of Israel to exist notwithstanding its unjust and oppressive occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The defense of Israel to exist in peace must be a goal of any negotiated settlement. We believe that a peaceful resolution of this crisis will be the best option for one day having Iran recognize the right of Israel to exist.

4) We applaud President Obama's difficult choice to find a path toward a negotiated deal with Iran that would allow use of nuclear capability for power and medical work but not for weapons production. We recognize this approach as a positive change from recent U.S. policy of engaging in unprovoked military actions as occurred with Iraq.

5) We ask all those in the U.S. government who are opposed to negotiations to give the peace process a chance. Negotiations of this type have traditionally been well within the competence of the President and the State Department. Congressional interference as displayed by the recent letter of 47 Senators to the leaders of Iran appears inherently partisan and out of place in such important negotiations. The letter and congressional attempts to increase sanctions, which would destroy any possible deal, are an embarrassment to those participating as well as to the U.S. in general.

6) We are particularly disturbed by the eagerness of defense contractors to meet with Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, author of the offending letter. Far too much of the U.S. and U.K. budgets are spent on weapons of war while children are left homeless and hungry and our national infrastructure deteriorate around us.

7) We stand with Pope Francis who declared "War is always a defeat for humanity." As we declared in our Care of Creation Chapter Acts, "War and nuclear proliferation pose a particular threat to the integrity of Earth." We are a people tired of endless war. There are and must be other ways to settle national differences.

We do not know that this negotiated settlement, if reached, will ultimately work, but we do know that the continued use of violence and war as a means of settling disputes does not work. Since the initiation of the "war on terror" after the 9-11 attacks in the U.S., acts of violence and terror on both sides have metastasized, engaging peoples on five continents. War is terrorism. War must end. The violence must end.

REQUESTED ACTIONS:

We ask all members of this Congregation, and friends, to immediately contact their elected U.S. representatives, and members of Parliament in the UK, to urge full cooperation in the efforts to find a peaceful solution to the current impasse and to create an atmosphere open to any possible solutions.

We ask the entire Congregation to pray for the success of the next round of talks that are beginning on March 17th and scheduled to proceed until March 20th. We ask the intercession of Saints Patrick and Joseph, men of peace, during the negotiations in bringing them to a peaceful resolution. We ask God's blessings of peace on all involved in the negotiations and pray for open hearts for those already opposed to a settlement not yet revealed.

CSJP Leadership Team Statement on Negotiations with Iran

"The prophet does not compel, but asks people to see themselves, the world, and God in a new way."

Dorothy Vidulich, CSJP