February 25, 2021
Today, February 25, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns sent a letter, signed by 26 national Catholic organizations, to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, requesting that the United States offer unilateral sanctions relief to Iran as a show of good faith, in hopes of bringing Iran back to the table and salvaging the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Pax Christi USA is also asking Catholics from across the United States to sign a petition with the same message.
Dan Moriarty, coordinator of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns’ Sustainable Pathways to Peace program, says:
“With this letter and the accompanying petition, we hope to impress upon President Biden that there is widespread Catholic support for lifting sanctions as a demonstration of good faith, to bring Iran back to the table. We are also involved in interfaith efforts to solicit congressional support for the same. We share the president’s desire to see Iran return to full compliance with the JCPOA, but we are concerned that Iranian leaders simply do not trust the United States as a negotiating partner, especially as sanctions inhibit Iran’s ability to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Iran was in full compliance with the deal when President Trump unilaterally pulled out and imposed sanctions. Now it is up to President Biden to offer unilateral sanctions relief. With Iranian elections only months away, time is of the essence. Our two countries surely have more issues to work out, but restoring the JCPOA provides a diplomatic foundation for future negotiations. As Pope Francis says, authentic reconciliation ‘is achieved in conflict, resolving it through dialogue.’ I pray that President Biden will hear our call, lift sanctions, and save this historic agreement.”
Johnny Zokovich, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, adds:
“As the Biden administration seeks to undo the damage that the former president caused, re-engaging with Iran and the other signatories to the JCPOA is essential. An initial overture of sanctions relief toward Iran, especially as a humanitarian gesture amid this devastating pandemic, would be a good first step to rebuilding trust and laying the groundwork for a positive diplomatic solution.”