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Middle East Issues





Presbyterian Peace Activists Bet on Iranian Good Will


Note: The following article appeared in The Algemeiner on November 23, 2014.

So-called peace activists within the Presbyterian Church (USA) have decided that they know better than the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IAEA has stated that Iran is blocking efforts to determine whether or not its nuclear program is being used for military purposes. On Nov. 7, 2014, Reuters reportedthat the “International Atomic Energy Agency said Tehran had still not provided information it was due to produce more than two months ago to help advance a long-running IAEA inquiry into suspected nuclear weapons research.” According to Reuters, the IAEA report stated that “Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures.”

In response to the IAEA report, The Institute for Science and International Security stated its concerns in a report also issued on Nov. 7, 2014:

By failing to address the IAEA's concerns, Iran is complicating, and even threatening, the achievement of a long term nuclear deal. The United States and its allies have repeatedly stated that Iran must demonstrate concrete progress on addressing the IAEA's concerns. Unless Iran takes some measures soon, any deal that could be reached will likely need to link any significant economic or financial sanctions relief to Iran addressing the IAEA concerns about Iran's military nuclear programs and nuclear weapon related activities, some of which may be on-going.

Nevertheless, the geniuses at the PC(USA)'s Office of Public Witness have a different message for us: Don't worry, be happy.

They make this case in an “action alert” that calls on Presbyterians to contact their lawmakers and “Speak Out for Diplomacy With Iran.” The alert states that negotiations with Iran “have resulted in the most extensive verification program in history.”

Never mind that the IAEA has said that Iran is blocking efforts to determine if it is attempting to use its program for military purposes.

To buttress its case, the Presbyterian alert invokes an overture approved at the denomination's 2014 General Assembly that supports negotiations with Iran. It also links to a blog entry written by a Presbyterian peace activist associated with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.” The entry, written by Don Mead asks if reconciliation with Iran is possible. Mead writes that the Iranians “are signatories of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which gives them full rights to a peaceful nuclear program,” and that the Iranians

have repeatedly affirmed that they have no intention of building atomic weapons, and their Supreme Leader has stated that the use of nuclear weapons is forbidden to Muslims.

All this begs an obvious question: If the Iranians honestly have no intention of building atomic weapons, they why haven't they resolved their issues with the IAEA?

In sum, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has irresponsibly pushed a pro-Iranian line that encourages people to ignore real concerns over its nuclear program.

Sadly, such naked propagandizing is what we should expect from staffers and peace activists in the PC(USA).


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