Jewish Leaders Tout ‘Constructive and Open Exchange’ on Iran at White House Meeting
Following an unexpected and hurriedly arranged White House meeting Tuesday Jewish leaders said they “had a constructive and open exchange,” with Administration officials over efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
The group welcomed “the reaffirmation of the President’s commitment to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear capability and that all options remain viable to assure that end,” they said in a statement.
The participants in the off the record discussion included leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, and AIPAC, key communal bodies that have all taken vocal positions on Iran’s nuclear program.
They “agreed to continue the consultation to enhance the prospect of achieving a transparent and effective diplomatic resolution,” they said.
The carefully worded statement made no reference to the current public points of disagreement between the United States and Israel over both the approach, and the desired outcome of the ongoing nuclear talks between six world powers and Iran known as the P5+1.
On Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu dismissed discussion over how far Iran should be allowed to enrich uranium, and insisted that Iran be denied nuclear breakout capability.
“Iran is willing to give up on enriching uranium to 20% and therefore a discussion on this issue is unimportant. The importance of the issue became superfluous in the wake of the technological improvements that allow Iran to enrich uranium from 3.5% to 90% in a number of weeks. Pressure on Iran should be increased because it is continuing enrichment even as it negotiates,” he said.
On Monday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that “the US would not ‘succumb to fear tactics,’ of those who oppose diplomacy,” with Iran, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The post said that the remarks “could be construed as a reference to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s warnings to the world not to fall for the ‘charm offensive’ of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.”
On Saturday, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told an audience at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue that the U.S. and Israel disagree when it comes to Iran, both with regard to negotiation tactics and in what they would be prepared to accept as a bottom line outcome of negotiations.
While the Obama administration has lobbied congress to hold back on new sanctions legislation in recent days in an effort, it said, to give time for diplomacy with Iran to work, a number of Jewish groups have voiced support for the implementation of new sanctions.