Cleveland Federation Statement on Iran

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CLEVELAND – Following a Board of Trustees Meeting on August 12, 2015, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland released the following statement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

A successful agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons has been of paramount importance to the Jewish community in Cleveland. We commend President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and their diplomatic team for their efforts over the past several years. We know that they share our conviction that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the United States, Israel, and the entire world.

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland, after careful consideration, must oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as agreed upon by the P5+1 and Iran (the “Agreement”). The Agreement fails to address key issues that are necessary to curb Iran as a global threat – in terms of both nuclear and conventional weapons. Contrary to the initial intent of the negotiations to dismantle Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the Agreement only temporarily freezes Iran’s nuclear program. This serves to legitimize Iran as a nuclear threshold state and significantly reduces its nuclear proliferation time following the expiration of the agreement in 2030. The inspection mechanisms embodied in the Agreement are inadequate on several levels: from permitting Iran advance notice of inspections to enabling it to delay requested inspections, and the inability of American experts to serve on inspection teams.

The Agreement’s enforcement mechanism – a snapback of all sanctions – applies only to the most severe breaches of the agreement. This provision allows Iran to withdraw from the deal, and therefore Iran knows that it will not be used for any but the most severe breaches. The Agreement’s failure to include clear consequences for lesser, incremental violations undermines effective enforcement.

The Agreement also fails to address Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities that serve no purpose other than military aggression, its hegemonic ambitions in the region, its systematic repression of human rights, and the four Americans currently held hostage by Iran. Equally troubling is that the Agreement ends restrictions on conventional arms sales to or from Iran after five years.

Finally, Iran is the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism, both through its direct actions and its support for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. With the sanctions relief envisioned by the Agreement, Iran will have even more resources to potentially funnel to terrorist organizations and activities. The Agreement does not prevent Iran from continuing to encourage and facilitate terrorist groups to commit atrocities against Americans, Israelis and citizens of all nations who only seek to live in peace.

As Congress continues to review the Agreement, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland urges our Representatives and Senators to consider the issues at hand and to act in the best interest of national and global security by voting against approval of the Agreement. We also call on our leaders to endeavor to negotiate a revised agreement that addresses our concerns.

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