Day After Rushed White House Meeting With Jewish Leaders, Simon Wiesenthal Center Calls Out Obama Admin. on Iran
A leading Jewish human rights group called out the Obama administration Wednesday for its recent efforts to block new Iran sanctions legislation, and urged the senate to “immediately adopt the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, which earlier passed the House with broad bi-partisan support.”
“We respectfully disagree with the White House’s push to give the Iranians more time,” said rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who also called on the President to sign the bill if it is ratified by the senate.
The criticism comes only a day after Jewish leaders were urgently summoned to the White House to discuss sanctions on Iran. Although Jewish leaders touted the meeting as a “constructive and open exchange,” it was described by the Jerusalem Post as “an effort to dissuade them from lobbying the Senate towards passing harsh new sanctions against Iran.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center was not invited to participate in the meeting.
“It is important to remember that the Iranians are now celebrating the 10th anniversary of lying to the world about their nuclear ambitions. How many more anniversaries should we allow them to celebrate? Make no mistake about it, behind the calm demeanor and smiling face of President Rouhani is a shrewd and devoted follower of Ayatollah Khamenei, who has written the book on how to run out the clock with yet another series of meetings, while Tehran rushes to reach the nuclear weapons brink,” rabbis Hier and Cooper further explained.
“Unless and until the Iranian regime gives full, immediate and unencumbered access to all sites to outside inspection, anything they say cannot be believed. Rouhani himself has bragged how he helped string out earlier nuclear talks dating back a decade,” they said.
“The only hope of stopping the program in the eleventh hour, is the threat of an even more powerful sanctions program, already approved by the US House of Representatives,” the SWC officials added. “Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Israel and all of Iran’s neighbors, know that a nuclear Iran will lead to a total destabilization of an already roiling region and a headlong rush by other states to join the nuclear weapons club.”
“Unless and until the Iranians can prove they have stopped their nuclear program, they deserve no moratorium on sanctions,” they concluded.
The SWC statement, and the Obama administration’s efforts come in advance of the next round of talks, over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, scheduled for November between Iran and six world powers known as P5+1.
In recent days, the differing positions of the U.S. and Israel over Iran have come into stark contrast, with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu dismissing discussion over how far Iran should be allowed to enrich uranium, and insisting 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 Sunday.
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.
A number of other Jewish groups have also voiced support for the implementation of new sanctions.