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Diplomacy Triumphs as Historic Iran Deal Relaxes Mideast Tensions

After years of sanctions, suspicion, war threats, and negotiations, six world powers and Iran announced a comprehensive deal this morning to resolve disputes over Iran's nuclear program and roll back sanctions.  

Massachusetts Peace Action welcomes the deal, which will reassure those who feared Iran might build a nuclear bomb; eliminate unjust sanctions which have seriously harmed the Iranian people; and create a promising new climate for reconciliation and respect between Iran, the Middle East, and the West.

The deal shows that diplomacy, not sanctions and war, are the path to resolve differences in international relations.

Now, Congress has 60 days to approve or disapprove the deal.  We call on Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren and on our nine members of the House of Representatives to promptly make statements in support of the deal and to vote to approve it.

Peace Action has worked for years to bring about a peaceful relationship with Iran, and today's announcement is the culmination of over eight years of effort on our part. 

The Iran nuclear dispute has never really been about non-proliferation, but about power. Only two months ago, the United States scuttled the UN's Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference because it rejected the demand of the world's non-nuclear nations to convene a conference to discuss a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East.  Such a zone would require Israel to give up its nuclear weapons. The five nuclear-armed world powers, plus Germany, that negotiated the deal with Iran, have not agreed to give up their own nuclear weapons, or even to start discussions about how to do that.

Today's deal extends for several years UN sanctions on export and import of conventional arms to and from Iran. Yet it is the United States which is by far the world's, and the Middle East's, largest arms exporter. The deal does nothing to curb massive U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, its outright gifts of advanced weapons to Israel, its attempts to organize and train a rebel army in Syria, or its bombing and drone strikes in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

IranNuclearNegotiatorsWithWeapons

Iran nuclear deal negotiators are shown together with the number of nuclear weapons possessed by each country

But despite these problems, the deal announced today is a big step towards relaxing tensions between the U.S. and Iran and across the Middle East. The deal reflects the Obama Administration's grudging acceptance that the Iranian people chose their own path starting with the 1979 Islamic Revolution and that confrontation, war threats, and sanctions were not able to coerce Iran. It sets better conditions to constructively address conflicts that have been worsened by high-handed U.S. policies, such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Israel/Palestine.

Massachusetts Peace Action's Foreign Policy for All framework points the way towards a peaceful U.S. foreign policy, and the Iran deal is a step in the right direction. 

Under Barack Obama, Washington has taken a step away from its cowboy policies and towards the multi-lateral diplomacy envisioned by the framers of the UN Charter. It is now up to us to ensure Congress votes in favor of the deal, that bitter-enders in Israel in Saudi Arabia do not succeed in undermining it, and that diplomacy continues forward to resolve the Middle East's many conflicts. 

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