Use sanctions, cooperation, diplomacy before war with Iran

Engaging in a preventive war without clear proof that an attack is imminent cannot fail to raise serious moral and juridical questions Bishop Richard Pates wrote in a March 2 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Pates, chairman of the US Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said, “In Catholic teaching, the use of force must always be a last resort,”

“Iran’s bellicose statements, its failure to be transparent about its nuclear program and its possible acquisition of nuclear weapons are serious matters, but in themselves they do not justify military action.”

Based on the Church’s teaching on war and peace, the Bishops’ Conference is urging the U.S. Government to continue to explore all available options to resolve the conflict with Iran through diplomatic, rather than military, means said Pates.

Some of the options he identified are:

  • effective and targeted sanctions
  • incentives for Iran to engage in diplomacy
  • the exhaustion of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“The Church’s position against nuclear non-proliferation is clear,” Pates continued.

“We believe nuclear weapons violate the just war norms of proportionality and discrimination in the use of force. Our Bishops’ Conference has earlier indicated our strong objection to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons as it would further destabilize that volatile region and undermine nonproliferation efforts. We have often criticized Iran’s lack of transparency and cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.”


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