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  U.S. Friendship Delegation Leaves for Iran

NEWS:

U.S. Friendship Delegation Leaves for Iran

SOURCE: Fellowship of Reconciliation
The Fellowship of Reconciliation delegation is expected to enable U.S. citizens and Iranians to learn firsthand about one another and to exchange ideas about peaceful ways to de-escalate the tensions between their countries.
Despite the rise in tensions between the United States and Iran, and talk of sanctions or military intervention, the Fellowship of Reconciliation's second interfaith delegation departed on May 8 for Iran on a mission of peace and friendshiip towards the Iranian people.

The delegation, which will spent 12 days in the country, is part of FOR’s ongoing commitment to working for peace, justice, and the nonviolent resolution of conflict.

A total of 22 Americans and one British citizen, representing several faith traditions, will take with them thousands of personal messages of friendship written by ordinary Americans. These messages will be delivered to major Iranian media outlets.

According to FOR, their last delegation to Iran returned in December, 2005. "Relations between the United States and Iran over Iran's nuclear program have become even more strained," the organization stated in their news release. "The positions of both governments have become increasingly belligerent and uncompromising, while the United States has even threatened military intervention."

The Fellowship of Reconciliation, founded in 1914, does not believe that threats and intimidation are appropriate policies in dealing with those with whom there are disagreements. Rather, "FOR believes in diplomacy and dialogue, in reaching out to the humanity in all people, especially those officially demonized and labeled enemies."

Because Iran has been depicted as “evil,” and because peaceful options are being increasingly sidelined, the Fellowship of Reconciliation believes its peace delegation to be of vital importance.

FOR is the oldest interfaith peace and justice organization in the nation. Its peace delegations visited the former Soviet Union at the height of communist rule; delegations also visited Vietnam, the Philippines, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, as conflict and civil war raged in those regions.

Delegates on the current Iran mission will visit cultural and historic centers. They will meet with independent and state-run media, academics, and Muslim religious leaders as well as representatives of minority Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian communities. They will also visit arts centers and non-governmental organizations, including women’s and environmental groups.

The delegation is expected to enable U.S. citizens and Iranians to learn firsthand about one another and to exchange ideas about peaceful ways to de-escalate the tensions between their countries. Americans and Iranians will exchange ideas on the creation and maintenance of a democratic and independent society. Delegates will send home regular reports, which will be posted to the FOR Web site.


The Fellowship of Reconciliation includes the Muslim Peace Fellowship. To learn more about the Iran delegation visit ga3.org/ct/u7LZBBY1LXO_/, and to read reports from FOR's previous delegation to Iran, see forusa.org/programs/iran/dec05.htm.

This story was brought to the Chronicle's attention by Humanity Check, an interfaith peace and reconciliation project that seeks "to reach across obsolete cultural barriers, to honor the spiritual and moral contributions of Islam to Humanity, and the deep desire of Muslims for a just and peaceful World." Email humanitycheck@earthlink.net with the message "subscribe" to be added to Humanity's email list.



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Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on May 9, 2006.

 

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