A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
West Falmouth Friends Meeting to President Obama: Talk to IranWest Falmouth Friends Meeting (Quakers)
P. O. Box 720
West Falmouth, Massachusetts 02574
March 22, 2009
The White House
President Barack Obama
Dear President Obama,
We believe an honest, just, and open relationship with Iran will promote stability from Israel to Afghanistan and lead towards further diplomatic engagement in this troubled region.
In February 2007 a delegation of thirteen Christian leaders were invited to Iran, the first group of Americans to visit in decades. They met with Muslim and government leaders, including President Ahmadinejad and former President Khatami; the meetings proved that a positive exchange was not only possible but desired.
This opening has not been carried forward by the United States. Visa issues twice prevented return visits by religious delegations of Iranians (September 2007, January 2009), and since then Iran has denied visas to a U.S. badminton team.
For us to continue hostility toward Iran will only weaken the positive influence that Iran could have on regional solutions. We urge that you now:
• immediately engage in direct, face-to face talks, without imposing preconditions or timetables • promote more people-to-people exchanges including members of Parliament/Congress, religious groups, and civil society • open a U.S. Diplomatic Interest Section in Tehran that would enhance people-to-people exchanges, already considered by the Bush Administration
We thank you for the openness you have brought to our government, and for your well-measured speech.
West Falmouth Friends Meeting (Quaker), approved by Business Meeting March 22, 2009 Sally Fritz, Clerk Amelie Scheltema, Peace & Social Concerns Committee
Cc: Honorable Hilary Rodman Clinton, General James L. Jones, Senator Edward Kennedy, Senator John Kerry, Representative William Delahunt, Joe Volk, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation