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Activists: Time 'Not Right' to Increase Nuclear-Arms Tension

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Local activists gathered Saturday to remember the lives lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, and urged caution as the Trump administration deals with nuclear issues with North Korea and Iran. (NH Peace Action)
Local activists gathered Saturday to remember the lives lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, and urged caution as the Trump administration deals with nuclear issues with North Korea and Iran. (NH Peace Action)
August 7, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. — As tensions flare between the United States and both North Korea and Iran, and the Trump administration faces tough choices on nuclear weapons, New England veterans and peace activists held a vigil on Saturday to mourn the victims of the only two atomic bombs ever to be deployed - in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Will Hopkins, director of New Hampshire Peace Action, said it is important to remember the hundreds of thousands who died in those nuclear attacks and the Trump administration needs to tread carefully in dealing with other nations that possess nuclear weapons.

"A nuclear weapon going off in any city - Concord, N.H., Washington, D.C., or Tehran - it's going to destroy all life in that city,” Hopkins said. "It's going to kill children, it's going to kill innocents and it's an unacceptable waste of our tax dollars."

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said "the time for talk is over" concerning North Korea.

During Saturday's vigil in Concord, local veterans and peace activists celebrated two recent votes at the United Nations and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to ban nuclear weapons.

While top members of the Trump administration have said the time for negotiation with North Korea is over, Hopkins argued the administration needs to step up its diplomatic corps to back up Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has no history of diplomatic service.

"As we look at this, we really want the best and brightest diplomats on Earth addressing this situation, because we're looking at a conflict that could drag China in,” Hopkins argued; "and it could potentially be really detrimental to human life on the planet."

Hopkins also argued that now is not the time to ratchet up economic sanctions against Iran.

"The rhetoric that is coming out is complete nonsense, and the new rounds of sanctions against Iran certainly violate the heart of the agreement,” he said. "Whether or not they violate the letter of the agreement is up for question. "

The American Friends Service Committee, the New Hampshire Nuclear Weapons Working Group and the United Church of Christ Peace with Justice Advocates joined in the weekend vigil.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH