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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Christian Leaders Urge Senate to Join House in Passing Tough Sanctions on Iran

Leaders representing millions of Evangelicals and Roman Catholics call for another overwhelming display of American unity through bipartisan passage of sanctions

As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union message on Wednesday, leaders representing millions of evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and other Christians have sent a letter to leaders in the Senate urging them to join the House of Representative in passing tough sanctions on Iran intended to prevent that rogue regime from obtaining nuclear weapons.

On December 15, the House passed the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act by a vote of 412 to 12.

"The House vote was an overwhelming display of American unity against a nuclear-armed Iran, demonstrating that President Obama has the firm, bipartisan support he needs to show the Iranian regime that we are serious," according to Dr. Richard Land of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. "Now is the time for the Senate to show similar resolve, strength, and unity."

The letter urges the Senate to join the House in passing a measure that would cut off exports of refined petroleum products, including gasoline, as a firm yet peaceful rebuke against the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.

After repeated efforts to persuade Iran to comply with it international obligations and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reported to its member nations that its diplomatic efforts with the Iranian regime have come to a "dead end." Since then, defiant Iranian officials have announced plans to begin building additional nuclear facilities.

The leaders point out that at the onset of his diplomatic effort with Iran this spring, President Obama said that "by the end of the year we should have some sense whether or not these discussions are starting to yield significant benefits," and specifically held out the prospect of sanctions against Tehran "to ensure that Iran understands we are serious." That deadline is mere days away, and just as President Obama said, Tehran needs proof we are serious.

The leaders include Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries, Richard Land of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting Network, Dr. James Merritt of Cross Pointe Church, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Gary Bauer of American Values, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, Al Kresta President and CEO of Ave Maria Radio, Dr. John Hagee of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Deal Hudson of the Morley Institute for Church and Culture and Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.

These leaders urge an immediate vote in the Senate to take advantage of the overwhelming bipartisan majority that was demonstrated by the House, and that stands ready in the Senate favoring strong sanctions against the Iranian regime.

The letter is an initiative of Christian Leaders for a Nuclear-Free Iran, an ad hoc coalition of evangelical, Roman Catholic and other faith leaders who have come together as a united, ecumenical voice that is reaching out to policy makers and opinion leaders and calling for urgent action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The coalition argues that Iran’s nuclear weapons program will destabilize the Middle East, lead to an arms race in a volatile part of the world, and threaten the United States and its allies in Europe.

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