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February 19, 2015 8:47 pm

Conference of Presidents Releases Statement From Former Chairs Backing New Iran Sanctions

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Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Screenshot.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations released Thursday a statement from its former chairs Kenneth J. Bialkin, Seymour D. Reich and Richard B. Stone in support of new economic sanctions against Iran.

Bialkin told The Algemeiner, “Iran is in the business now of leading terror activities over the whole Middle East. And that’s a very dangerous thing . . . I think we need to be as hard on Iran as we possibly can be.” He added that of at least as much concern for him personally as the “potential nuclear quest by Iran” is the “the hegemony Iran is exercising in so many of the hotspots of terrorism,” and fears that “President Obama is playing with fire by trying to make Iran into an ally for a small part of our anti-Islamic-terror effort.”

The statement from the three ex-chairmen comes at a crucial juncture in US-Iran and US-Israel relations. Negotiations between the US government and Tehran about Iran’s nuclear program are reportedly set to resume Friday in Geneva; there is a visible and growing rift between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations over the terms of a putative deal; both governments have engaged in a highly mediatized but indirect grappling match over the talks, the US’s broader Iran policy and charges of electioneering leveled both at Obama and at Netanyahu.

Perhaps most interesting about this statement is the fact that the COP rarely allows former heads to make use of its megaphone in this way — it might attest to the seriousness with which the organization views the issue.

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