SAN FRANCISCO, July 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference NHCLC/CONEL:
Last week, American negotiators and their negotiating partners signed off on an agreement that is supposed to tame Iran's once-secret and long-denied nuclear weapons program. The original goal was to prevent Iran from having any pathway to nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, this agreement falls far short of the original goals.
On Monday, July 20, the US State Department officially delivered the Iran agreement to the US Congress for its 60-day review period. During this period Congress must review the agreement and decide whether to approve or disapprove it. Even though top congressional leaders from both parties asked the president not to do so until after the congressional review period, the Administration went forward with a resolution of approval on Monday at the United Nations Security Council. While the Security Council voted unanimously to endorse the agreement, Congress still has a vital role to play. It is important to remember that Security Council resolutions do not trump U.S. law, and Congress should take its responsibility seriously.
This deal is not only bad; it is very dangerous. It falls woefully short of what both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have said is acceptable.
The deal does not include "anytime, anywhere" inspections of suspected nuclear sites, giving Iran ample opportunity to hide clandestine nuclear weapons research and development activities.
Iran continues to deny the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) details of Iran's past military development to use as a baseline for assessment.
The deal lifts sanctions immediately when the agreement goes forward, rather than gradually based on performance, providing Iran with a windfall in excess of $150 billion that will be used to further Iran's funding of extremism and terrorism in the Middle East and beyond.
The deal does not disconnect and remove all uranium producing centrifuges or disable any Iranian nuclear facility, leaving Iran's nuclear infrastructure intact and setting the stage for Iran to emerge after 10 – 15 years as a nuclear state able to produce as much enriched uranium as it desires.
The deal lifts the conventional weapons ban imposed on Iran after five years, insanely allowing Iran to reenter the arms trade.
We lead an evangelical Hispanic community which represents more than 40,000 Hispanic churches across America. We are asking Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to oppose this deal. The alternative is not war; the alternative is the opportunity to regroup and demand a better agreement, one that ensures Iran will not ever become a nuclear power.
The implementation of this deal will lead to devastation results in the near term and in the future. In the short run, the agreement ensures the end of sanctions and empowers Iran to continue to fund terrorists who target Christians and Jews, and even Muslims with whom they disagree. Iran is responsible for propping up the Assad regime in Syria, responsible for the deaths of more than 250,000 people and a refugee crisis that is destabilizing the whole region. This includes murdering and terrorizing our Christian brothers and sisters. Their persecution will only increase as Iran pours more money and weapons into Syria. Not to mention the Iranian imprisonment of American hostages including Pastor Saeed Abendini. The agreement also increases the likelihood of greater, not less, nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
In the long run, this agreement leaves Iran with an industrial-scale nuclear enrichment program. At that point Iran will be a threshold nuclear state with the ability to produce enough enriched uranium for nuclear weapons in a matter days. With such a short timeframe, a future American president at that point will have only two choices: give up and allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon, or military action. There will be no time for sanctions or diplomacy.
The 60-day clock is ticking for Congress to closely review the agreement. We remind Congress what this Administration repeated throughout the negotiations: no deal is better than a bad deal. This deal is a bad deal and should be rejected.
America is our country; Israel is the spiritual homeland for Christians and Jews around the world. As Americans and Christians, we care deeply about both, and these two great nations represent the greatest hope for the future of the world. This Iran deal which accelerates Iran's ability to build nuclear weapons and foment extremism and terrorism is a threat to world citizens who long for freedom and safety. We could not trust Iran in the past and we cannot trust Iran in the future. A more powerful Iran will propagate more deception and death.
We represent millions of evangelical Hispanic Christians across the United States who, like us, have a moral duty to fight anti-Semitism, defend America and support Israel. Each of us has an obligation to oppose this bad deal. Democrats and Republicans have a history of united legislative cooperation to build a strong US-Israel relationship. This is not a partisan issue; it is a moral imperative.
We ask our Hispanic evangelical community across America to call their members of Congress on both sides of the aisle during this review period to urge them to oppose this bad deal. Let them know that we want a diplomatic solution that actually solves the problem – not a pathway to nuclear weapons for Iran now or in the future.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference NHCLC/CONEL is the world's largest Hispanic Christian organization. It serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,000 U.S. churches and another 500,000 congregations spread throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora. For additional information, visit http://www.nhclc.org
Rev. Mario Bramnick is the President of Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition. The Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalitions vision is to build a firewall against anti-Semitism and the Campaign to Delegitimize the Nation of Israel, raise awareness of the critical intersection of Israel and America's future, and activate Hispanics as the most "Pro Israel, Pro Jewish" demographic.
SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference