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Provincial leadership support for Iran nuclear agreement

On August 20, 2015, the leadership team of the United States-Canada Province sent the following letter to our representatives in Congress:

As U.S. Catholic Sisters who have dedicated our lives to working in communities, schools, parishes, hospitals, and other institutions across the nation and around the world for peace and the common good of all God’s people, we urge you to support the Iran nuclear agreement.

While imperfect, the 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. Further, this opportunity arises in the face of the ultimate horror: the threat of introducing weapons of mass destruction into an already-incendiary theatre.

To date, critics of the deal have failed to proffer the details of an alternative approach that stands a chance of winning the support of China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom – our U.S. partners in the agreement –– as well as of Iran and the United Nations Security Council. The deal is built on a rigorous inspections regime to ensure Iran’s compliance with terms aimed at eliminating its capacity to develop nuclear weapons for at least 15 years.

Like every agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has its shortcomings and involves risks – including the risk of failure. In that event, the agreement provides for a “snapback” of sanctions. Taking no action, as people on all sides of the debate agree, leaves Iran just months away from nuclear weapons capacity.

Short of an alternative deal – and, again, we see none proffered – the status quo with no restraints on Iran’s nuclear weapons building and no inspections regime points ineluctably toward a military “solution.” As we have witnessed for the past 12 years, this proves to be no solution at all – just a surefire formula for inciting heartache, devastation, and new generations of young people filled with hatred bred from violence.

We understand that there are many complexities involved in this matter that can and must be understood and argued. It took two years to hammer out the myriad details in the pending agreement. We write to make the larger point that your vote on this matter, in one way or another, will mean assuming risks – those inherent in the pending agreement or those inherent in maintaining the status quo. Having the United States walk away from a deal agreed to by six nations, including China and Russia, and endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, of course, poses its own set of additional risks to global security and stability that also must be considered.

As women of faith, followers of the one who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers”(Mt 5:9), we urge that you risk on the side of peace – and vote to approve the Iran nuclear deal. Thank you.