Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Mary Ellen of AFSC gives Excellent Interview About Trip to Iran
Mood:  hug me
Now Playing: This is a compelling story of peace and communication

Full text here: http://www.afsc.org/iran/  <please watch video>

Dear Joe Anybody and Friends,

Mary Ellen McNish, AFSC’s general secretary, just returned from a week-long delegation of U.S. religious leaders to meet with Iran’s president and other civic and religious leaders. The delegation, led by the AFSC and the Mennonite Central Committee, was the first U.S. religious group to meet with an Iranian president in Iran since the revolution in 1979. 

This delegation is an example of the person-to-person diplomacy that AFSC has engaged in throughout its 90-year history. 

Web video interview

Yesterday (Monday), Mary Ellen sat down for a short interview about her experiences in Iran with Aura Kanegis, AFSC's director of public affairs. In the interview, she talks about the need for diplomacy, her discussion with the Iranian president, women in Iran, how news is covered in Iran and the U.S., and more. We videotaped it and posted the video on our web site to share with you.

Thank you to those who sent in questions. Your input helped to guide Aura’s interview. I hope you find the video interesting.

You can view Mary Ellen’s interview at



Tell Congress: Support direct talks with Iran

Also, please support the call by AFSC and U.S. religious leaders for immediate face-to-face talks between the U.S. and Iranian governments. 

Email your U.S. Senators and Representative to ask that they support a joint House-Senate resolution calling on the U.S. to talk directly with Iran, and help to avert war with Iran by cosponsoring and seeking immediate action on S.Con.Res.13 in the Senate and H.Con.Res. 33 in the House.  These identical measures, introduced by Senator Bernard Sanders (VT) and Representative DeFazio (OR) respectively, seek to prevent expansion of war into Iran.

We believe that dialogue between countries is not a reward; it’s a starting point and a necessity.  Dialogue should not be conditional. Join with us in urging the U.S. government to directly and constructively talk with the Iranian government. 

Take Action >

More about the delegation to Iran

The 13-person religious delegation traveled to Iran to encourage a dialogue in the hope of averting war. The group met with Muslim and Christian leaders, government officials, and other Iranian people. The final day included a meeting with former President Khatami and current President Ahmadinejad. The meeting with President Ahmadinejad lasted two-and-a-half hours and covered a range of topics, including the role of religion in transforming conflict, Iraq, nuclear proliferation, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The delegation returns to the United States with a proposal that both the U.S. and Iranian governments immediately engage in direct, face-to-face talks; cease using language that defines the other using “enemy” images; and promote more people-to-people exchanges, including religious leaders, members of Parliament/Congress, and civil society.

Leaders from the following organizations took part in the delegation: American Friends Service Committee, Episcopal Church USA, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Mennonite Central Committee, National Council of Churches, Pax Christi USA, Sojourners, and the United Methodist Church.

For the full text of “U.S. Religious Leaders Find Hope in Iran,” the religious leaders’ joint statement for direct talks and more, see AFSC’s web news room.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:18 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2007 11:28 PM PST

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