The jury is still out on the Iran deal for the Trump Administration, as President Donald Trump emphasized himself in March 2016 that the U.S. "must enforce the terms of the previous deal to hold Iran totally accountable."
As a Christian faith leader fearing equivocation on a matter as delicate and dangerous as averting war, we are compelled to state our firm support for adhering to the Iran deal in order to avoid traveling down the path of war.
This is all the more important in the wake of President Trump's ban on immigration from seven Muslim majority countries, including Iran. While the President claims that this isn't about targeting Muslims, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani highlighted the hollowness of such claims when he explained on Fox News that Mr. Trump asked him to 'put a commission together' to implement the Muslim ban legally. Make no mistake, this ban is about targeting Muslims, and the U.S. relationship with the entire Muslim world suffers because of it. Because of this ban, war with the Muslim world is more likely, and as Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have pointed out, the ban endangers U.S. national security interests around the world.
We have no illusions about Iran's destructive role in the world, as a government that persecutes minorities, and plays a destabilizing role in the Middle East. That is all the more reason why we must support this agreement's continued success in blocking Iran's path to a nuclear weapon. The possibility for a violent confrontation with Iran loomed during the Bush administration into the Obama era, until the threat of war was actually put to rest through the diplomatic negotiations that concluded with the Iran nuclear deal. This disarmament agreement enables and enforces the most rigorous nuclear inspection regime ever negotiated in history.
Whether or not one initially supported the deal, now we must all acknowledge that the deal is working. The deal has supplanted an unchecked Iranian nuclear enrichment program with a tightly controlled and monitored program a fraction of its former size.
In exchange for Iran dramatically shirking its nuclear program the U.S. has made a commitment to not level new nuclear-related sanctions against Iran. As a result of this deal, Iran's nuclear program is under camera, lock, and key.
Abandoning the deal would be a reckless decision that would tear down the barrier that the U.S. has erected between Iran and a nuclear weapon. We can anticipate attempts in Congress to undermine the deal from those who do not understand the utter disaster that might unfold if it were to be dismantled.
Psalm 34 asks us to "Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14).
As Christians, we should loudly say that we want to stay the course with this deal, and do good by continuing on the path to ensure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon.
To dismantle this deal, which blocks Iran's pathway to a nuclear weapon, would dismantle a hard won victory for America and the world. Dozens of top U.S. diplomats praised the deal, along with: 70 nuclear experts, 100 former U.S. ambassadors, Five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel and more than 440 rabbis. Pope Francis called it "proof of the potential of political good will."
Jesus proclaimed that "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" (Matthew 5:9).
In that spirit, more than a hundred Christian faith leaders called for Congress to cast "a vote for peace over risking war" when the deal was under deliberation in Congress. The peacemakers involved in securing this deal have done blessed work, and Christian leaders have a responsibility to defend it. Freedom from fear of a nuclear-armed Iran and the U.S. waging another war in the Middle East could be undone with a few brash moves by the Trump administration. Or, if cooler heads prevail, this historic agreement will benefit America and the world for generations to come.
The Bible calls us to "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Romans 12:18).
It depends on us, now, to defend the Iran nuclear accord, which helps free us all from the threat of war. Accordingly, we call on the Administration and Congress to stay the course of the Iran nuclear deal, and prevent God's children from the threat of nuclear weapons and another U.S. war in the Middle East.