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May 8, 2018 3:32 pm

US Jewish and Pro-Israel Groups Extol Trump’s Withdrawal From Iran Nuclear Deal

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An Iranian nuclear facility. Photo: IAEA.

Top US Jewish and pro-Israel groups reacted on Tuesday — largely with praise — to President Donald Trump’s announcement of America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

An edited sampling of these responses can be read below:

Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Stephen Greenberg and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said, “The president’s declaration reflects frustration with Iranian behavior following the implementation of the JCPOA. While there are some differences of views as to the most effective approach, the Conference of Presidents has clearly and consistently called for an agreement which would ensure that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapons capability that would augment its ability to create mayhem in the region through its support of terrorism.”

“Today’s announcement, we hope, will create an opportunity to accomplish these goals,” Greenberg and Hoenlein stated. “We hope that a more comprehensive arrangement with stricter compliance rules, a prohibition against the development of long and short-range ballistic missiles, any weaponization program, and, of course, human rights violations, will become a reality. Sanctions targeting banking and energy sectors of the Iranian economy should be imposed. We hope that our European Allies will join in this endeavor. More effective compliance measures without sunset clauses, and giving inspectors unfettered access to military and other barred sites, should be included. The threat that Iran poses to Israel, its neighbors, and the world at large, mandates a comprehensive approach.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said, “Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapons capability. AIPAC has long worked with Democrats and Republicans in Congress and with administrations of both parties to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Given the combination of a critically flawed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and the international community’s inability so far to adequately address these shortcomings, we believe the administration’s decision today provides an important opportunity to address the shortcomings of the deal and to confront Iran’s escalating regional aggression.”

AIPAC added:

“Strong and effective economic and political pressure previously brought Iran to the negotiating table. Working with our allies, we must once again use the tools of American diplomacy and economic pressure to fix the deal’s shortcomings and counter Iran’s malign activities.”

“We recognize that there are significant differences over this decision. AIPAC remains committed to working with Congress and the administration in a bipartisan fashion to forge policies that will ensure Iran can never acquire a nuclear weapons capability or realize its dangerous regional ambitions.”

Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, the dean and associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said, “A regime that serially celebrates the denial of the Nazi Holocaust — history’s most documented genocide — ever took place, can be relied upon to lie about its commitments to the international community. Lying is the national anthem and Magna Carta of the ayatollah’s regime.”

“Proof of the ayatollah’s perfidy about its drive to nuclear development was uncovered by Israeli intelligence and is proof positive that Tehran can not be trusted on life and death issues impacting the region and the world,” they continued.  “Leaving the status quo with Iran awash with billions of US taxpayer’s cash, would only ensure a growing circle of violence and terrorism in the region and ultimately could help pave the way for a nuclear arsenal that could reach our shores.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said Trump sent an “unmistakable message to Iran and its allies that its very real threats against the United States and all other free and democratic nations in the world will not be tolerated.”

“Iran is a rogue nation ruled by a regime that cannot be trusted to honor its word, and even more so with nuclear capabilities that would enable it to wreak havoc on the world and cause a catastrophic arms race in the region,” Lauder noted. “President Trump has taken a courageous step today in making it ever clear to the Islamic Republic that he will not stand by in silence as it continues to subvert the nuclear agreement and exploit the good faith of the international community. We urge other countries to follow this administration’s example and not allow Iran to flout international law.”

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris said, “Despite repeated Obama administration predictions, which we ourselves heard more than once, that the JCPOA would moderate Iranian behavior and lead to greater focus on domestic growth and development, Tehran has expanded its regional aggression, repeatedly flexed its military muscle, continued its calls for Israel’s annihilation and ‘Death to America,’ and flaunted its expanding missile program.”

“And Israel’s remarkable intelligence coup in Iran further underscored the longstanding Iranian pattern of deceit, deception, and disinformation, and served as an additional warning to the international community about the true intentions of Iran’s leadership,” he pointed out.

Harris continued:

“President Donald J. Trump never hid his disdain for the JCPOA or his threat to withdraw the United States from it. But he also left open the possibility that, if our European allies, would be willing to address seriously the core weaknesses, then there was an alternative to “nixing” the deal. Regrettably, however, despite efforts on both sides of the Atlantic, full agreement on a path forward has to date eluded the Americans and Europeans.”

“That is profoundly regrettable. Despite our many reservations, we had nonetheless hoped to see the deal ‘fixed,’ not ‘nixed,’ at this stage of the game.”

“We can only hope that today’s action by the president, significant as it is, will not end the effort to find common ground. The last thing anyone should want is a wedge driven between the US and our European partners, as Iran would inevitably become an unintended beneficiary. And given Iran’s current and future threats to regional and global security, that should be an outcome no one in the US or Europe wants.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said, “With or without the JCPOA, the administration, Congress and the international community must cooperate to reach an end that all desire: to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, its aggressive militarism across the region, its direct threats against Israel and other US regional allies, and its unacceptable, systemic human rights violations against ethnic and religious minorities, women, LGBTQ, activists and other groups inside Iran.”

“The recent revelations of Iran’s nuclear archives demonstrate the regime’s long record of deceit and its intent to weaponize its nuclear capabilities,” Greenblatt added. “It underscores that it is imperative for the international community to cooperate to halt the threat that the Iranian regime poses in the Middle East and around the world.”

Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane said, “The Orthodox Union commends President Donald Trump for his decision today withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal. The president has long recognized the flaws of the JCPOA and has followed through today with the correct action. We will support the president’s coming actions to bring true and lasting security to the Middle East and beyond.”

B’nai B’rith International President Gary Saltzman and CEO Daniel Mariaschin said their organization was “encouraged that the president recognized the deal’s many weaknesses.”

“We urge our European partners to join the United States in pressuring Iran to curb its nuclear activity,” they said. “The reimposition of sanctions would send a clear message that the existing agreement cannot stand, and an Iran with nuclear weapons will not be tolerated.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition said, “The RJC thanks President Trump for withdrawing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, ending the Obama-era policy of trying to achieve peace through weakness. Of course this peace never came. Iran was emboldened by the legitimacy given to them on the world stage and the pallets of cash delivered to their doorstep. Iran continues to be an existential threat to Israel, and continues to menace Israel directly and through its proxies (such as Hezbollah).”

“Today’s decision renewed hope for a truly long-term nuclear-free Iran. By withdrawing from the agreement that Obama made, without Senate approval, President Trump now has at his disposal tools, like the enhanced sanctions that were waived under Obama, to get a deal that creates the necessary pressure on Iran. We appreciate President Trump’s bold foreign policy and look forward to his leadership in dealing with the Iranian threat,” the RJC concluded.

Pastor John Hagee, chairman of Christians United for Israel, said, “This deal was flawed from the beginning, and largely backed by those far more focused on securing an agreement than preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. No agreement based on Iran’s lies and the Obama administration’s half-truths was going to withstand the test of time. We know Pres. Trump is deeply concerned with ensuring Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, and we share his belief that this deal was far too weak to achieve that result.”

Josh Block, president and CEO of The Israel Project, said, “The JCPOA was built on false premises and riddled with flaws. It enabled Iran’s bad behavior across the region, enriched and empowered the Islamic Republic’s military and terrorist operations, and put them on a path to a massive, modern nuclear program with a nuclear breakout time of just weeks in less than eight years.”

“A new solution must rectify those flaws by ensuring full transparency into Iran’s nuclear program with immediate access inspections without exemption, an end to Iran’s work and use of ballistic missiles of any range, permanently end their nuclear pursuit without sunset, and end Iran’s terrorism and aggressive regional behavior, including a total withdrawal of all forces and equipment, official and unofficial, from Syria,” Block concluded.

United Against Nuclear Iran Chairman and former US Senator Joe Lieberman and CEO Ambassador Mark Wallace said, “We vigorously opposed the JCPOA because it did not stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It only paused their nuclear weapons development program for a while, if they kept the promises they made in the agreement. That is why we believe that President Trump made the correct and courageous decision in terminating America’s involvement in the JCPOA, reimposing economic sanctions on Iran, and stating that the US remains open to diplomacy that will achieve a better agreement.”

“Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions have destabilized the Middle East, threatened our allies and pose a danger to American national security,” they cautioned. “It is critical that we employ a robust diplomatic strategy and use the renewal of secondary sanctions as leverage to secure a comprehensive agreement that conditions sanctions relief on Iran abandoning its nuclear ambitions, ballistic missile development, its support for terrorism, quest for regional dominance, and human rights abuses.”

Zionist Organization of American National President Morton Klein said, “The ZOA is thrilled President Trump kept yet another campaign promise in ending the catastrophic Iran deal which I painfully believe President Obama instituted to strengthen the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ability to harm Israel.”

“As a result of abrogating this agreement and restoring nuclear sanctions on Iran, President Trump has just made the world a safer place for all of us,” Klein added.

Sarah Stern, the founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, stated, “As we said in 2015 when the JCPOA was negotiated with a regime that dubs the United States ‘The Great Satan,’ has killed and injured thousands of Americans, is the leading state sponsor of terrorism, and consistently calls for the destruction of our strong ally, Israel, it is imperative that any final nuclear deal actually prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The JCPOA did not. President Trump was right to withdraw from it. I strongly salute him for this courageous decision.”

Meanwhile, J Street claimed, “The president’s violation and abandonment of the international agreement blocking each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon is more than an egregious foreign policy blunder, it is an unprovoked and unjustified assault on international peace and security.”

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