USA and Iran should pursue talks, say Mennonites

By staff writers
June 11, 2006

USA and Iran should pursue talks, say Mennonites

-11/06/06

Iranís leaders know that a stand-off too far on the nuclear processing issue or other political disagreements could cost its people dear; and the United States needs to seek ways of connectivity rather than confrontation, says a leading North American inter-Mennonite paper.

The call from the Mennonite Weekly review, whose view is shared by other US church organisations, comes as hopes of a slight thawing of relations between the two countries has increased in recent days.

Iranís foreign minister said on 9 June 2006 that his country will make a counter offer in response to a Western incentive package aimed at persuading Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

This may be a variation of the proposal made by Europe, the USA, China and Russia or could be an entirely new package, say observers.

In December 2005, Ed Martin of Mennonite Central Committee, along with fellow MCC staff members Ron Flaming and Daryl Byler, travelled to Iran in hopes of establishing deeper ties with partner organisations there, like the Iranian Red Crescent Society.

MWR reports that Martin and others have said that moves towards more constructive dialogue between Iran and the West are appreciated and welcomed by the people they meet in the country.

In recent years, MCC has co-sponsored a cultural exchange that allows a Mennonite couple to live and study in Qom, Iran, while Iranian students come to North America.

In January 2006, a study tour sponsored by MCC gave a group of North Americans a glimpse of Iranian life. Another tour is planned for early 2007.

Other ties stem from relations established in December 2003, when MCC sent aid resources to the earthquake-ravaged city of Bam, site of one of Iranís worst disasters.

Mennonite Central Committee has been keen to encourage creative links between Christians and Muslims in recent years.

Mennonites are one of the historic peace churches, and they emphasise practical reconciliation as a primary manifestation of the Gospel.

MWR says that Ed Martin, like most who work with relief efforts in the region, would like to see the standoff with Iran defused and further strife averted.

ìWeíre very much concerned about the high degree of tension and the threats that we hear,î Mennonite Central Committeeís Martin declared at the end of May.

[Also on Ekklesia: Mennonites highlight plight of Canadaís undocumented migrant workers 10/06/06; Mennonite educationists touch global vision in Egypt 08/06/06; Inter-Mennonite agencies cooperate in disaster action; Mennonites describe Indonesian earthquake horror; Java quake scene like tsunami, says Indonesian Mennonite; UK Anglican election observer invited to Congo by Mennonites; Mennonites and other churches step up Darfur relief; Mennonites and Anglicans work to overcome violence in northeast Uganda; Cambodian tree project backed by fossil fuel-free Mennonites; More church agencies gear up aid for Java quake zone; End scandal of poverty in churches, says Mennonite leader; Mennonites to play mediating role in Congolese election; Decade to Overcome Violence gathers momentum]

USA and Iran should pursue talks, say Mennonites

-11/06/06

Iranís leaders know that a stand-off too far on the nuclear processing issue or other political disagreements could cost its people dear; and the United States needs to seek ways of connectivity rather than confrontation, says a leading North American inter-Mennonite paper.

The call from the Mennonite Weekly review, whose view is shared by other US church organisations, comes as hopes of a slight thawing of relations between the two countries has increased in recent days.

Iranís foreign minister said on 9 June 2006 that his country will make a counter offer in response to a Western incentive package aimed at persuading Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

This may be a variation of the proposal made by Europe, the USA, China and Russia or could be an entirely new package, say observers.

In December 2005, Ed Martin of Mennonite Central Committee, along with fellow MCC staff members Ron Flaming and Daryl Byler, travelled to Iran in hopes of establishing deeper ties with partner organisations there, like the Iranian Red Crescent Society.

MWR reports that Martin and others have said that moves towards more constructive dialogue between Iran and the West are appreciated and welcomed by the people they meet in the country.

In recent years, MCC has co-sponsored a cultural exchange that allows a Mennonite couple to live and study in Qom, Iran, while Iranian students come to North America.

In January 2006, a study tour sponsored by MCC gave a group of North Americans a glimpse of Iranian life. Another tour is planned for early 2007.

Other ties stem from relations established in December 2003, when MCC sent aid resources to the earthquake-ravaged city of Bam, site of one of Iranís worst disasters.

Mennonite Central Committee has been keen to encourage creative links between Christians and Muslims in recent years.

Mennonites are one of the historic peace churches, and they emphasise practical reconciliation as a primary manifestation of the Gospel.

MWR says that Ed Martin, like most who work with relief efforts in the region, would like to see the standoff with Iran defused and further strife averted.

ìWeíre very much concerned about the high degree of tension and the threats that we hear,î Mennonite Central Committeeís Martin declared at the end of May.

[Also on Ekklesia: Mennonites highlight plight of Canadaís undocumented migrant workers 10/06/06; Mennonite educationists touch global vision in Egypt 08/06/06; Inter-Mennonite agencies cooperate in disaster action; Mennonites describe Indonesian earthquake horror; Java quake scene like tsunami, says Indonesian Mennonite; UK Anglican election observer invited to Congo by Mennonites; Mennonites and other churches step up Darfur relief; Mennonites and Anglicans work to overcome violence in northeast Uganda; Cambodian tree project backed by fossil fuel-free Mennonites; More church agencies gear up aid for Java quake zone; End scandal of poverty in churches, says Mennonite leader; Mennonites to play mediating role in Congolese election; Decade to Overcome Violence gathers momentum]

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