US. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pose for a photograph before resuming talks over Iran's nuclear programme in Lausanne March 16, 2015..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Tuesday’s announcement that the Islamic Republic of Iran had reached a deal with western powers over its nuclear program was greeted with skepticism and calls for close congressional scrutiny by Jewish organizations around the world.
Calling the deal a prize for radicalism and a Western surrender,” European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor accused the West of capitulating to Iranian demands.
“On almost all of the major sticking points, Iran appears to have come out stronger and this deal will prove to be a prize for radicalism and seen as a Western surrender,” he said. “If you act like the neighborhood bully, it pays off.”
Jewish groups also expressed concerns about the more than $100 million in frozen assets that will be made available to the Islamic Republic upon completion of the deal.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that he believes the deal “puts more cash in the hands of the wrong people at the wrong time to further fan the terrorist and military threats against Iran’s enemies.”
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Moreover, he asserted that the deal would compel regional powers to scramble to achieve deterrence against Iran.
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While Iranian diplomats negotiated in Vienna, large crowds marched through the streets of Tehran chanting “Death to Israel.” The European Friends of Israel recalled in a statement that Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and genocidal anti-Semitism “barely rated a byline on the minds of the negotiators.”
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Meanwhile, the Zionist Organization of America went event further, calling the deal “a mistake of historic magnitude” and “a catastrophic disaster for Israel, America, and the world.”
World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder expressed concern over Iran’s trustworthiness, stating that Tehran “has a long history of misleading the world.
According to Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, the deal “falls far short” of assuring that Iran will not obtain nuclear weapons.
“At best, if Iran fully complies with the terms of the [deal], its nuclear weapons ambitions will be deferred during the 10- to 15-year term of most restrictions,” he said, urging Congress to scrutinize the deal very carefully.
B’nai B’rith International expressed similar sentiments, stating that it fears that “inspectors will never get unfettered or spontaneous access, because Iran has consistently rejected this point all along.” Others, such as the American Jewish Committee and the Reform Movement, were more circumspect, urging congressional scrutiny of the deal but not issuing strong statements on its benefits or lack thereof.
Unlike many other Jewish organizations, the J Street lobbying group immediately expressed strong support for the deal, stating it “appears to meet the critical criteria around which a consensus of US and international non-proliferation experts has formed for a deal that verifiably blocks each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.”
AIPAC, in contrast, voiced its concern regarding the deal, citing initial reports that the agreement may not meet the requirements that they claim are marked indicators of a “good deal.”
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.