Peace Direct responds to the recent military actions between the U.S. and Iran

Photo of Tehran, Iran, by Jorn Eriksson via Flickr Creative Commons

Updated on Jan. 10: Peace Direct remains deeply troubled by the recent retaliatory attacks between the U.S. and Iran and persistent militarized tensions between the countries. We are relieved that both the U.S. and Iran appear to be pulling back from the brink of war and taking steps to immediately de-escalate the conflict.

Our experience working with local peacebuilders on the frontlines of conflict around the world has taught us that preventing war and building peace is possible. Through decades of war, local peacebuilders in the Middle East have been at the forefront of efforts to resolve conflicts and restore peace in their region.  People in Iran have been standing up to press for change in their own society at great risk to themselves.  Groups like the Al-Firdaws Society in Basra, Iraq, and the Baghdad Women Association, carry out vital work to help strengthen communities in literacy, health and human rights. And people-to-people peacebuilding between the U.S. and Iran has continued through years of conflict, including interfaith delegations that have engaged at the highest levels and directly with communities.

Peace Direct believes these efforts are essential for lasting peace everywhere, and they are directly affected by military actions, sanctions, and heightened tensions toward war. 

As Kamaran Osman with the Christian Peacemaker Teams Iraqi Kurdistan team explains,

“We are nothing but a battleground. An arena of war for two of the world’s blood stained governments. No good can come from the death of Qasem Soleimani and the burning of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. We are the firey ash of this war, and it is our children and land that is being sacrificed in their fight for power.”

War can be prevented, and diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran has worked in the past.

“People across the region and the world are calling for the continued de-escalation of this crisis and an effective peace process to end decades of conflict between the U.S. and Iran,” said Peace Direct CEO Dylan Mathews. “We urge the United Nations and the international community to surge diplomatic, multilateral, and peacebuilding efforts to defuse this crisis, and to support the long, hard work of locally led peacebuilding that is needed in the region.”

War can be prevented, and diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran has worked in the past. Since 1979, brave voices in Iran, the United States and beyond have worked for peace. These efforts helped avert war in the past and made possible the historic Iran nuclear deal. Dedicated support and sustained investments in active diplomacy, people-to-people peacebuilding, and strengthening local civil society, including women- and youth-led efforts for peace and human rights are far more effective and less costly than war.

“We stand in solidarity with all the people striving for peace in the Middle East and around the world, and with all those sent to fight in these senseless, endless wars and their families here in the U.S.,” said Peace Direct’s U.S. Executive Director Bridget Moix. “As peacebuilders here in our own country, we call on Congress to pass a War Powers measure to prohibit any additional military action against Iran without explicit Congressional approval. War will solve nothing. Peace is still possible.”

Act Now: You can do your part. Sign a +Peace petition urging the U.S. Congress to take steps toward de-escalation and diplomacy with Iran.

See how one woman is amplifying the voices of peaceful protesters in Iraq.

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