The media is reporting that the Trump Administration has decided to de-certify Iran’s compliance with the Iran nuclear deal. The deal, negotiated by the UN Security Council, put restrictions on Iran’s uranium enrichment abilities and gave the international community access to the country to verify their compliance with the restrictions.
The Church of the Brethren has a long history of outspoken opposition to nuclear weapon development, use, and proliferation. In 1982, the denomination issued “A Call to Halt the Nuclear Arms Race,” which said:
“Since its inception the church has understood the biblical message as contrary to the destructive, life denying, realities of war. The position of the Church of the Brethren is that all war is sin and contrary to the will of God and we confirm that position. We seek to work with other Christians and all persons who desire to abolish war as a means of resolving difference. The church has consistently spoken and continues to speak against the production and use of nuclear weapons. We have called upon our government to “dismantle its nuclear arsenal, pledge not to use nuclear weapons, refuse to sell nuclear fuels and technology to any state not agreeing to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, work tirelessly for a comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, take unilateral disarmament initiatives as a way of breaking the current stalemate, and strengthen global institutions that facilitate nonviolent means of conflict resolution and the process of disarmament.”
The United Nations’ work on the Iran Deal is exactly the sort of “global institution” process that facilitates nonviolent conflict resolution, and the deal has been largely successful. It has allowed international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and allowed for the lifting of sanctions and increased economic integration between Iran and Western nations like France and Germany. These are important steps in the right direction.
The rhetoric surrounding the upcoming Iran Deal decision brings to mind the Church of the Brethren’s 1984 statement, “Terrible Belligerence,” written in response to Cold War tensions.
“Our nation has contributed to a world situation in which few serious negotiations are taking place to reduce the danger of nuclear annihilation. We assume that all liberation movements are “communist” inspired and controlled. We reduce international relationships to a conflict between “the free world” and “an evil empire.”We replace diplomacy with military confrontation as a means to world stability.”
Nuclear negotiations are difficult, imperfect and too little, too late. However, the deal with Iran represents a meaningful step forward for the global community in using diplomacy to prevent nuclear conflict. It is essential that, as it says in the 1980 COB statement, “The Time is so Urgent: Threats to Peace,”
“To break this mad cycle we call for bold and creative initiatives such as a unilateral decision by our government to terminate all nuclear tests and the production of all nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.”
We continue to call for an end to the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons, and urge the United States government to do everything within its power to ensure the success of nuclear negotiations that bring the world closer to peaceful, stable coexistence without the threat of nuclear annihilation.