J Street welcomes deal, WJC calls Tehran’s promises worthless

Jewish organizations in US offer mixed reactions to Geneva nuclear agreement reached between Iran, six world powers.

November 25, 2013 01:16
2 minute read.
Iran nuclear talks  in Geneva November 24, 2013.

Zarif and Kerry at Iran nuclear talks in Geneva 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Carolyn Kaster/Pool)


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NEW YORK – Jewish organizations in the US offered mixed reactions to the Geneva agreement reached overnight Saturday between Iran and six world powers.

Washington DC-based lobby group J Street said on their website they “welcome the agreement... as a first significant step in efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.” The group said it “urges Congress to get behind this agreement.”

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David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, said the deal was a “potentially important development,” but a more full understanding of the accord was needed. He also expressed doubt as to whether it would actually lead to the cessation of Iran’s nuclear development.

“A diplomatic solution is unquestionably the preferred approach,” said Harris, “but for years Iran has maintained an indisputable posture of deceit and defiance... the P5+1 need to be ever vigilant in determining whether Iranian leaders are, in fact, sincere... Or will play for time while trying to advance their nuclear program.”

Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks also released a short statement on Saturday night, calling US President Barack Obama’s ideas “naïve,” misguided and damaging to the US’s national security and reputation.

“No matter what the specific provisions of the deal are,” Brooks wrote, “President Obama’s diplomacy is giving cheer to Tehran’s rogue regime and causing alarm among our friends in the region... Congress and the American people need to speak out against this flawed deal.”

The National Democratic Jewish Council did not offer a comment by press time, though in the past they have expressed support for both the talks and for the heavy economic sanctions against Iran.

The World Jewish Congress said it was “skeptical” about the deal.

“Iran must be judged by its actions, not its words and promises, because they are not worth the paper they are written on,” said WJC president Ronald Lauder. “Nothing in the deceptive behavior of Iran and its leaders in recent years should make the world believe that they will honor this agreement.”

The Zionist Organization of America and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, which have both been critical of the talks, have not yet commented directly on the deal.

Barry Curtiss-Lusher, national chair of the Anti- Defamation League, and Abraham H. Foxman, its national director, both expressed their concern over the “deep flaws” in the plan.

“This interim agreement allows [Iran] to continue enrichment and maintain a breakout capability,” they said in a statement. “Iran has not earned these concessions and has, in the past, used respites from international pressure to surreptitiously make progress in its nuclear program.”

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