Dear 2016 Presidential Candidates,
After decades of hostility that nearly brought us to the brink of war, the U.S. and Iran have managed to break through the vicious cycle of enmity to negotiate a historic nuclear agreement.
As members of the Iranian-American and pro-peace communities, we pride ourselves in having played a role in supporting those negotiations, helping to prevent war and halt the spread of nuclear weapons, and paving the way for a more constructive relationship between the U.S. and Iran.
There will still be serious challenges and disagreements with Iran. But America’s next president has a chance to turn the page on the thirty-five years of enmity with Iran to begin building a more productive relationship in order to actually resolve these issues.
That is why we urge you and everyone running for the White House to retire the hostile rhetoric of the past. This hostile rhetoric often makes no distinction between the Iranian government and the Iranian people. It empowers hardliners, undermines those working to resolve challenges, and promotes conflict.
Instead, we urge you to articulate how you will seize the opportunity created by the diplomatic breakthrough with Iran to build a more peaceful future.
The American people do not want more war and do not seek to create more enemies. The success of the Iran negotiations, compared to the catastrophic failure of war with Iraq, demonstrate why diplomacy – not saber rattling and the rush to military action – is the best foreign policy tool at our President’s disposal.
Our next President will be someone who can build partnerships and utilize diplomacy to resolve our nation’s foreign policy challenges. We hope that you will demonstrate how you are the best candidate to chart a positive, productive path forward that builds on the diplomatic breakthrough with Iran and serves America’s national interests.
It should have been a wake up call for all of us when Hillary Clinton said “the Iranians” are among the enemies she is most proud of at this week’s Democratic Presidential debate.
Yes, the U.S. and Iran defied decades of hostility to forge a historic nuclear agreement. Yes, there are now incredible possibilities to finally break with the hostility of the old and start a new chapter with Iran in which we resolve our challenges through constructive engagement. But we haven’t turned the page just yet. Many of our politicians are still behind the curve, and we need to change that.
That is why we are sending an open letter to all of the candidates urging them to stop the hostile rhetoric and instead explain how they will build on the momentum for peace. Will you sign the letter to the Presidential candidates urging them to support peace and diplomacy?