SAN FRANCISCO, July 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and Rev. Mario Bramnick:
We stand at the brink. As leaders in the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition, we speak on behalf of more than 40,000 Hispanic evangelical churches.
The United States and other members of the "P5+1" – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – are currently negotiating with the Islamic Republic of Iran on an agreement to curtail its nuclear program. For more than 20 years, the United States and many of our allies have warned of Iran's secret interest in building a nuclear weapons capability. The question today is whether we have the will to stop them.
Iran today threatens the United States, our ally Israel and others in the Middle East. America is our country; Israel is our spiritual home. As Americans and Christians, we care deeply about both, and these two great nations represent the greatest hope for the future of the world.
The Iranian regime is an enemy of the very values we hold dear. Its venom spreads far and wide. At home, the Iranian government persecutes Christians, denying them the basic right to worship and often punishing them for doing so. Iran spews forth anti-Semitic lies, crassly denies the Holocaust and calls Israel a cancer that must be destroyed. Beyond its borders, Iran is the chief state sponsor of terrorism, impacting both America and Israel. Iran supplied Iraqi insurgents with the weapons that killed and maimed American soldiers, and Iran-backed Hezbollah killed more Americans than any foreign terrorist group prior to 9-11.
An Iran with the ability to build nuclear weapons – even if it does not actually do so – is a global game-changer that puts all of us at risk. It is not acceptable.
The P5+1 agreement must prevent Iran from having any pathway to nuclear weapons. They must not waver at this precipitous moment. Rather, they must gather their strength and insist on an agreement that meets this goal. The Administration has said that no deal is better than a bad deal. Let's hold them to their word.
Iran cannot be trusted. It has proven this again and again. It will make an agreement and then reinterpret it; it will break its promises on a pretense. Iran has a long history of manipulation and cheating – often playing a game of hide and seek with international atomic inspectors. Even after clandestine nuclear work has been discovered, Iran has sought to cover it up.
We represent millions of evangelical Hispanic Christians across the United States who, like us, have a moral duty to fight anti-Semitism, support Israel and defend America. We have an obligation to speak out and tell the president and Congress not to allow Iran to have the ability to produce nuclear weapons. This is not a partisan issue; it is a moral imperative.
Any agreement with Iran must include five critical elements.
First, any agreement must provide the ability to know what Iran is doing through anywhere, anytime inspections. International inspectors must be able to access suspected nuclear sites, including military installations, on short notice. Otherwise, the entire agreement will fall apart, leaving Iran with safe havens for nefarious nuclear work.
Second, any agreement must require the Iranians to come clean, finally, on their past research and development efforts on nuclear weapons. Without this information, we won't have a baseline from which to judge whether they are cheating (again) in the future.
Third, any agreement must provide sanctions relief over time and only after full, sustained compliance by Iran. The Supreme Leader and his cronies should not get a signing bonus just for making promises, and Iran should not have access to billions of dollars to continue to fund anti-American and anti-Israel terrorism.
Fourth, any agreement must last for decades to ensure that Iran not become a nuclear threshold state. The ten-year timeframe suggested in the framework agreement would simply start the clock towards Iran becoming a nuclear weapons power.
Fifth, Iran must be required to dismantle, not merely mothball, its nuclear infrastructure. Leaving the equipment intact creates a built in opportunity for Iran to cheat before we can discover it.
I encourage our Hispanic evangelical community across America to call their members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and urge them to use these five critical elements as guideposts in evaluating any agreement. Let them know that we want a diplomatic solution that actually solves the problem – no nuclear weapons pathway for Iran now or in the future.
As our numbers grow in the evangelical Hispanic community, our determination will grow as proud Americans and as pro-Israel Christians to stand up against anti-Semitism and hatred toward Israel and America.
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 (HIL). 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