Updated Aug. 4
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington on Monday declared its opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement and has called on Congress to vote against the deal.
The council is the community relations arm of the organized Jewish community. The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, whose position on the deal last week WJW reported as “concerned, but hopeful,” did not sign on to the JCRC’s statement.
At least seven federations — including Boston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, South Palm Beach, Miami, Houston, Detroit and Dallas — have come out in opposition to the Iran deal.
“We look at this as a policy decision,” said JCRC Executive Director Ron Halber. The agency’s executive committee voted to oppose the agreement, reached last month between Iran and six world powers, after an “intense but civil” discussion, Halber said.
“We took time to study the deal and read the commentary,” Halber said. “As the community relations arm of the Jewish community, we had no choice but to take a position.”
Before the Iran deal was reached, the JCRC “outlined five criteria that would need to be met by any agreement to ensure Iran could not attain nuclear capabilities,” according to a statement.
Those five criteria, also endorsed by the Federation, were: “a vigorous inspection and verification regime; clearly tie sanctions relief to Iran’s strict compliance with its obligations under the agreement; require Iran to fully explain its prior weaponization efforts; block Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for decades to come; and ensure that Iran dismantle its nuclear infrastructure so it has no path to a nuclear weapon.”
“We have reluctantly concluded that this proposed agreement does not comply with these parameters,” the JCRC announced in a statement Monday.
Asked if opposition to the agreement will prevent Iran from attaining nuclear capabilities, Halber said his agency hoped that Congress will take bipartisan measures to “reassure naysayers of the deal that it will be OK.”
See also: Rabbis take sides on nuke agreement
The statement reads:
“We acknowledge and deeply appreciate President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, and the entire negotiating team for their unremitting diplomatic efforts to reach an accord to prevent a nuclear armed Iran. This Administration, through its unprecedented level of military cooperation with the State of Israel, has demonstrated its support for the security of the Jewish state.
“We recognize the diversity of thoughts on this profound and sensitive matter and encourage our community to respect different viewpoints and not to challenge the motivations of people with differing positions. People on all sides of the issue believe their position will best prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and is in the long term interests of the United States, Israel, and the world. Those who are against the deal should not be accused of being warmongers or have their opinions seemingly invalidated by challenging what is their alternative. Those who favor the deal should not have their support for Israel questioned. We recently marked Tisha B’Av, mourning the fall of Jerusalem due to baseless hatred. It is pivotal that we keep this lesson from Jewish history in the forefront of our minds as we proceed through this debate.
“We also regret derogatory personal statements, some coming from Israel, criticizing President Obama and his motivations. There is no place for this type of demonizing rhetoric.
“The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington remains vehemently opposed to a nuclear Iran. Prior to the announcement of the deal, we outlined five criteria that would need to be met by any agreement to ensure Iran could not attain nuclear capabilities. Unfortunately we have reluctantly concluded that this proposed agreement does not comply with these parameters and therefore we must oppose it and call upon Congress to vote against this deal.
“This deal has significant flaws. It does not permit essential “anytime, anywhere” short notice inspections of Iranian facilities and does not clearly condition sanctions relief on full Iranian cooperation in satisfying International Atomic Energy Agency concerns over the possible military dimensions of Iran’s program. The deal lifts sanctions as soon as the agreement commences, lifts key restrictions within 8 years, disconnects and stores centrifuges in an easily reversible manner, and requires no dismantlement of centrifuges or any nuclear facility. And after 15 years, when virtually all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program are gone, Iran will be legally able to acquire a nuclear weapons capability with a breakout time measured in days.
“The JCRC shares the goal of achieving a negotiated, peaceful solution, and emphatically rejects the notion that objecting to this proposed deal is a call for war.”