- (Photo: Reuters/Keith Bedford)
Several U.S. politicians and the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference have strongly spoken out against a deal offered to Iran that would allow it to keep its nuclear weapon capabilities, saying it would be a "historic mistake."
"If the administration agrees to reach an agreement with Iran without Iran's acquiesce to halt and dismantle its Nuclear Program such a position would be a monumental departure from multiple U.N. resolutions, our pledges to Israel, and this administration's own stated policy," said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the NHCLC, in a statement on Wednesdayw. The NHCLC is the nation's largest Hispanic Christian organization with 40,118 member churches representing millions of people.
"Congress' bipartisan pushback against the administration's unilateral negotiations is proof that key congressional leaders view any lifting of sanctions - even before Iran has done anything to halt and dismantle its nuclear program - as dangerous to the nation of Israel and to the stability of the region."
Voice of America reported that several U.S. lawmakers have also spoken out against the deal, including Ed Royce, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, who said that it would not meet the standards needed to protect the U.S. and its allies.
"If these talks are about Iran abandoning its nuclear program, then to show good faith, at the very least while the talks are going on, Iran should stop enrichment, period," added Committee member Eliot Engel.
Iran has continuously tried to convince the world's leaders that its nuclear program is meant only for peaceful purposes, and stood its ground against sanctions aimed at shutting it down. The Islamic country has also asked the U.N. nuclear agency to allow expanded inspections of its nuclear sites.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has argued, however, that Iran has entered the negotiations in bad faith.
"Israel is united in opposition to the deal offered to Iran. We are speaking in a clear and unequivocal voice," Netanyahu said, offering that a good deal will entail denying Iran its options of using a nuclear program. "This is not just important for Israel, but for the entire world."
Rodriguez agreed that sanctions against Iran must remain until it agrees to stop its nuclear program, or else the world would be making a "historic mistake."
"We believe that we have a moral, biblical and strategic obligation to stand united in efforts to protect the safety of the nation of Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East, and thereby protecting our own American interest," the NHCLC president continued. "We also urge the Senate to take immediate action on pending Banking Committee legislation to strengthen sanctions against the nation of Iran."