Iran nuclear deal backers plan worldwide ‘peace’ marches

Thousands of people to march in cities across the globe on Saturday in support of Iran’s deal

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Thousands of people are expected to march in cities across the globe on Saturday in support of Iran’s deal with world powers over its controversial nuclear programme, activists said.

The “global day of peace”, as organisers describe it on Facebook, is aimed at showing support for the deal, which must be approved by U.S. lawmakers before being implemented.

The call to mobilise comes as the historic deal reached last month is under fire from U.S. and Iranian hardline politicians.

Activists said the marches, organised partly by Iranians living abroad, will be a show of solidarity with Iran against “pro-war lobbies” in the U.S..

Organisers say they have no affiliation with any group or political party.

The agreement reached in Vienna provides for a progressive and conditional lifting of crippling international sanctions on Iran, in exchange for guarantees that the Islamic republic will not develop a nuclear bomb.

The deal has been publicly and vocally opposed by many members of the US Congress as well as by Israel, and has raised concerns among U.S. allies in the Gulf.

A Facebook page supporting the deal has already advertised marches on Saturday in around 80 cities, including Melbourne, Tokyo, Paris, Ottawa and New York.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman acknowledged the campaign this week on social media.

“I have no idea who is doing this, but it’s kind of awesome,” said Marie Harf, re-tweeting a photo of a bike in Washington with a paper tag reading “Support #IranDeal”, the campaign’s name.

One of Iran’s vice presidents also shared a link to “the voluntary campaign” on her Facebook page.

Supporters of the deal “know that this agreement matters in reaching peace and a more secure and tranquil world,” said Masoumeh Ebtekar, President Hassan Rouhani’s deputy on environmental protection.

O’Brien told the Security Council last month that the crisis was worsening in Syria and that a political solution was more urgent than ever.

A tragic milestone was recorded last month when the number of Syrian refugees fleeing to neighboring countries rose to more than four million, making it the biggest exodus from war in a generation.

An additional 7.6 million are displaced inside the country, uprooting more than half of Syria’s pre-war population.

The humanitarian crisis now tops the U.N. list of global emergencies, with 12.2 million people in need of aid, including more than 5.6 million children.

O’Brien will travel to Lebanon and Syria from August 14-17 for a first-hand look of the humanitarian impact of the war, in which 240,000 people have died.

His predecessor Valerie Amos last visited Syria in January 2014.

O’Brien’s job title is Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

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