A ‘Dangerous Moment for America, Allies’: Major Jewish Groups Uneasy as US Lifts Economic Sanctions Against Iran (VIDEO)
US and international Jewish organizations responded with trepidation to the US’s instantaneous lifting of banking, steel, shipping and other sanctions on Iran on Saturday that came with the implementation of the nuclear deal.
The American Jewish Committee responded by saying the nuclear deal, which allows entry to businesses that for years have been forbidden from having access to the Iranian market, should not mean the return to “business as usual.”
“We call on governments to make it clear – to their countries’ business sector – that the JCPOA does not represent a return to ‘business as usual’ with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. A range of tough US sanctions, which AJC supports, remains in effect; Iran’s non-nuclear activities, which are ongoing and destabilizing, are subject to continued – and likely escalating – sanctions,” a statement by AJC on Sunday read.
AJC and the Anti-Defamation League addressed Iran’s ongoing human rights abuses and expansionism in the Middle East, in part through proxies like Hezbollah, with the ADL calling for US “pushback” on these policies.
“Unfortunately, in the broadest sense, Iran’s behavior since the nuclear deal has not instilled confidence in its desire to return to the family of nations, as evidenced by its testing of advanced ballistic missiles in violation of UN policies; its institutionalized discrimination against its own religious, ethnic and LGBT minorities; its continued aggression in the region including in Lebanon, Yemen and Syria, where its support of the brutal Assad regime has contributed to the Syrian civil war and disastrous refugee crisis; and in its continued anti-Israel and anti-Semitic policies, such as its latest Holocaust cartoon contest, a forum for Holocaust denial that is unacceptable in any circumstance,” wrote ADL National Chairman Marvin D. Nathan and CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) noted that “Implementation Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a turning point in Iran’s strength as a terrorist state and in its ability to pursue regional dominance. Starting today, Iran can repatriate tens of billions of dollars from frozen foreign accounts, fueling its efforts to expand its reach across the region.”
AIPAC called the lifting of sanctions, which coincided with Iran’s release of five US citizens, a “dangerous moment for America and our allies.” The group called on policymakers to confront “regional proxies” while taking “firm action to support our allies, especially Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel would continue to monitor Iranian “international violations, including regarding the nuclear agreement.” He called on the international community to enact “aggressive sanctions” against any violation concerning the nuclear deal, the testing of ballistic missiles that could be used to deliver a nuclear warhead, and terrorism.
B’nai B’rith International said the US decision to slap sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile tests last October and December reinforced their skepticism about Iran’s willingness to go forward in compliance with the JCPOA.
“There are still many steps Iran must follow to meet its obligations, and we urge the P5+1 (United States, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom) and the IAEA to maintain due vigilance and scrutiny to ensure Iran does not cheat and develop a nuclear weapon,” the group said.
Watch President Obama praise US diplomatic engagement with Iran: