Evangelical, Jewish Leaders Call for Sanctions Against Iran

Evangelical Christian and Jewish leaders are calling for immediate sanctions against Iran to discourage the government from developing nuclear weapons.

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, joined Paul de Vries, president of the New York Divinity School and leader of the New York Evangelicals, and Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis, in issuing a statement urging all governments to apply sanctions as a tool for effective diplomacy and to encourage human rights efforts of Iranian citizens.

The leaders explained their concern derives from the "grave threat" of a nuclear Iran against people in the United States, Israel, as well as Iran's Muslim neighbors. The threats posed by a nuclear weapon-possessing Iran include throwing Gulf Arab states into a nuclear arm race that would cause instability in the region; strengthening the rule of the militant Shia regime against Iran's new reform leaders and youth attracted to human rights; and a likely total confrontation with Israel and the world to hasten the return of the 12th imam.

Shiite Muslims view chaos as a good thing because they believe it will usher the return of their 12th imam and lead to a one-world Muslim domination.

"Jesus commanded his followers to be the 'salt' of the earth and the 'light' of the world [Matthew 5:13-16]," said Land in a statement Tuesday.

By seeking sanction against Iran, Christians are attempting to be "salt" in preserving Israel and the entire region from bloody conflict, and to be "light" by maintaining the intrinsic value of all human beings – inside and outside of Iran – whose human rights are in danger because of the current rogue regime.

"We stand in solidarity with all people of good will both in the region and around the world in seeking to stop a nuclear Iran from grievously imperiling Israel, the Middle East and the world's peace," Land said.

The Southern Baptist leader's comments came the same day that an Iranian opposition group claimed that Iran has been building secret nuclear weapons labs separate from its uranium enrichment sites since as early as 2000.

The People's Mujahedeen, a banned group in Iran, held a press conference in Paris Tuesday to reveal new details of Tehran's alleged effort to build a nuclear warhead, according to Agence France-Presse.

Representatives of the People's Mujahedeen urged the international community to take stronger action against Iran to stop it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

"The international community does not have another four years prior to the clerical regime obtaining the nuclear bomb, and due to appeasement by the international community the regime is closer to acquiring the bomb," said Mehdi Abrishamchi, chairman of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which the Mujahideen is a part of.

He noted that the group has information, including satellite photographs, that backs up their claim of a secret facility involved in building high explosive materials to be used in a nuclear bomb.

Also, on Monday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran to adhere to its agreement to ship low-enriched uranium aboard for processing – an effort to slow Iran's attempt to develop uranium for a nuclear bomb.

Evangelical and Jewish groups have responded to the threat of Iran possessing a nuclear bomb by recommending two actions: sanction banks that work even indirectly with Iranian banks and sanction firms or governments that export refined petroleum to Iran.