Bipartisan resolutions proposed in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, equally backed by Republicans and Democrats, are urging the “President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and oppose any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.”
So naturally the Religious Left is opposing these mostly symbolic statements, because largely pacifist prelates do not believe any situation, no matter how dire, ever merits even the implied contemplation of force. They also are more concerned about military force from the U.S. or Israel than they are about nuclear weapons in the hands of apocalyptic Iranian mullahs.
Complaining that the congressional resolutions would “undermine diplomatic efforts,” the leftist churchmen warn the statements would set a “dangerously low threshold for war” by “ruling out containment,” possibly even, by some interpretations endorsing “military force against Iran now.”
The ecumenical complaint to members of Congress was organized by the Presbyterian Church (USA) chief Capitol Hill lobbyist. It was signed by Quaker and Mennonite officials, a left-wing Catholic order, and the lobby offices of the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.
Noting that Iran’s theocracy since at least the late 1980s has “engaged in a sustained and well-documented pattern of illicit and deceptive activities to acquire nuclear capability,” the congressional resolutions cite Iran as the “most active state sponsor of terrorism,” according to the U.S. State Department. They also recalled the U.S. Treasury Department’s finding last year that Iran had a “secret deal” to help al Qaeda. Of course they mentioned Iran’s genocidal threats against Israel. And they pointed at the Islamic Republic’s “serious human rights abuses,” according to the United Nations, including “torture, cruel and degrading treatment in detention, the targeting of human rights defenders, violence against women, and ‘the systematic and serious restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly’ as well as severe restrictions on the rights to ‘freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.’”
The Congressional resolutions, noting Iran’s continued failure to comply with international non-proliferation standards, urge continued diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran until it ends its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. It also commends the “universal rights and democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.”
Leftist prelates in the U.S. of course are not particularly interested in disarming or democratizing Iran. Instead, they complain the congressional resolutions are “undercutting” diplomacy, which “heightens the potential war.” They quote various critics claiming the resolutions resemble pre-2003 justifications for the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein Iraq. They insist Iran has not yet decided for nuclear weapons. And they reiterate: “Direct, sustained diplomacy remains the single most effective way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and avert war. And they implore: “We urge you to support diplomacy, not war, with Iran, and to oppose” the congressional resolutions.
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