Jewish Groups Slam Iran Nuclear Deal as Realization of ‘Deepest Fears’
Jewish groups railed against President Barack Obama’s announcement on Tuesday that negotiators had reached a deal with Iran over the country’s nuclear program, warning that it had manifested critics’ “deepest fears.”
“Today’s announcement of the nuclear agreement with Iran is a realization of the deepest fears and the most dire predictions of skeptics who have, for two years, been warning against exactly this outcome,” said Josh Block, the president and chief executive of pro-Israel media group The Israel Project.
“The deal will give Iran billions in cash and sanctions relief to fuel its terror and war machines, shred the hard-won sanctions regime beyond repair, and enable the Iranians to get away with hiding the full extent of their nuclear work, infrastructure, and know-how,” said Block. “It will not have an enforceable inspections regime or a workable way to re-impose pressure on Iran when it cheats.”
Critics of the deal fear it will enrich the ayatollah regime as sanctions are lifted and long-sequestered funds become available to Tehran. Many have criticized the deal for failing to address Iranian regional belligerence: its intercontinental ballistic missile program, its funding of terrorist proxies region-wide from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon to the Gaza Strip, Yemen and even Cyprus, calls by the highest echelon’s of Iran’s military for Israel’s destruction and chants of “Death to America” during national rallies.
Additionally, Block warned that when the deal expires a decade from now, Iran will be allowed under the so-called “sunset clause” to have a “full-blown nuclear program — a screw’s turn away from a nuclear weapon.”
And, the Israel Project said reports have indicated that the nuclear deal would lift the U.N. implemented arms embargo on the country, allowing it to make massive arms purchases with its newly released funds.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said it was concerned that the deal would not necessarily bar all possible routes Iran could take to obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“During these negotiations, we outlined five critical requirements for a good deal,” said AIPAC. “We are deeply concerned based on initial reports that this proposed agreement may not meet these requirements, and thereby would fail to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.”
In fact, each of AIPAC’s “requirements” — which reflected Israeli demands — were called into question over the past few weeks by Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who rejected inspections at non-nuclear military sites thereby refusing to address all concerns about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.
The national chair and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Barry Curtiss-Lusher and Abraham H. Foxman, respectively, said upon an initial review of the deal that its gravest shortcomings were relying on the good faith of the Iranian regime to comply, and the ability of nuclear inspectors to enforce the agreement.
Additionally, “While President Obama, Secretary [of State John] Kerry, Undersecretary Wendy Sherman and the P5+1 negotiators invested a formidable amount of effort in securing a respite from the most immediate threat posed by Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, the JCPOA does not prevent it for the long term,” they said. “In ten years, Iran will be able to rapidly expand its enrichment capacity.”
The president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, was slightly more optimistic, and he expressed eagerness to see the details of the deal and hope that the inspections regime would address concerns over Iranian intentions regarding its nuclear program.
But, he cautioned, “there is no reason to trust Iran” over the deal’s implementation.
“Tehran has a long history of misleading the world,” he said. “Last Friday’s government-sponsored ‘Quds Day’ rallies, in which the masses again shouted ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel,’ are a good example of why we shouldn’t be overly optimistic.”
Looking ahead, American Jewish Committee David Harris said “it is now incumbent on the United States Congress, pursuant to the provisions of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, to thoroughly review, debate, and, ultimately, vote it up or down.”
“That process should be driven by one central question: Will the deal enhance the security of the United States, our allies in the Middle East, and the world? If so, then it should be supported. If not, then it must be opposed. This may be the single most important foreign policy issue of our generation to come before legislators in Washington. As a nation, we absolutely must get it right. This agreement ought to be weighed on its merits only – nothing more, nothing less.”
Left-wing Jewish group J Street, meanwhile, welcomed the news of the nuclear deal, calling the agreement “complex and multi-faceted.”
According to J Street, what has been reported of the deal appeared to match the framework announced in Lausanne, Switzerland back in April, and the group said it was hopeful that U.S. and international non-proliferation experts had blocked each of the potential pathways to a bomb.