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Failure to Deal with Iranian Weapons Program is Bringing Volatile Region Closer to Nuclear Arms Race, Christian Leaders Warn

Syrian Intentions to Pursue Nuclear Technology Leads Coalition to Urge House and Senate to Reconcile Sanctions Bill Immediately, and Send to President Obama's Desk

Contact: Dave Mohel, 703-548-1160

WASHINGTON, March 11 /Christian Newswire/ -- The lack of resolve in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue is now leading to a broader outbreak of nuclear proliferation throughout the Arab world, according to a coalition of Christian leaders.

"Christian Leaders for a Nuclear-Free Iran (CLFNFI) has been urging the Congress, President Obama, and the international community to impose meaningful sanctions aimed at halting the Iranian regime's attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon," according to Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, adding that "we are now beginning to see the bitter fruits of the civilized world's inaction."

In a Monday meeting in Paris, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad announced that his country needs to "consider alternative energy sources, including nuclear energy."

Although Mekdad's announcement was cast in the language of a peaceful energy development project, this is not Syria's first foray into the nuclear circle. In September of 2007, Israel is reported to have destroyed a clandestine Syrian nuclear reactor in an airstrike. The Syrian reactor was based on a North Korean design, and was being constructed with the assistance of North Korean nuclear technicians.

Syria is on the US State Department's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism for providing financial aid, political support, weaponry, and military training to terrorist organizations.

According to Land, "the Syrian announcement underscores the point that our failure to show resolve in the face of the Iranian nuclear program is not only leading to a diplomatic failure in Iran, but has now brought us one step closer to a spreading nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world."

"The House and Senate have both passed meaningful sanctions against Iran by overwhelming majorities," Land said. "Now, they must agree on a common version and send it to the President's desk. President Obama must not only sign that legislation, but should redouble his efforts to lead the civilized world in joining the US in sanctioning Iran until it abandons all attempts to obtain nuclear weapons.

"The diplomatic virtues of patience must not be used to conceal the vices of inaction and appeasement," Land concluded. "The problem of a nuclear-armed Middle East will grow every day until the civilized world stands against efforts to provide the most dangerous regimes in the world with the world's most dangerous weapons."