In the wake of the announced framework of a deal between the United States, its five negotiating partners, and Tehran on the Iranian nuclear program, B’nai B’rith International believes there are still many questions surrounding the outcome—questions involving the viability of the deal and whether the notoriously sinister and secretive Iranian government will honor the terms in good faith.
B’nai B’rith is skeptical of the agreement’s ability to increase Iran’s nuclear breakout time from three months to a year, given the regime’s unwavering determination to continue enrichment and its history of evading inspections. The current deal, negotiated by the P5+1 (United States, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom), follows more than 20 years of deception by the regime in Tehran. If it was truly negotiated in good faith, then why did Iran run out the clock as the deadline approached?
We thank Secretary of State John Kerry and his team for their hard work over many, many months. But we still remain concerned.
Iran’s credibility has already been severely strained by its track record of saying one thing and acting on the complete opposite. Iran has always opposed international “interference” in the Syrian civil war, all the while supporting the Syrian government with troops and supplies. In the current conflict in Yemen, Tehran has taken the same stance, while simultaneously backing one side. These are just a few of many examples of Iran’s deceitful and aggressive behavior, a list which also includes Iran’s many ventures as the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.
The framework deal calls for a reduction of Iran’s installed centrifuges by two-thirds of its current capacity, but Iran’s actions during negotiations seemingly offer a clear blueprint for how it would act once a deal is in place. Even under the preliminary agreement, the regime has continued to enrich and stockpile uranium, build centrifuges, defy the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other inspection requests from the international community, pursue plans to build intercontinental ballistic missiles and hide the military dimensions of its nuclear program. Will Tehran truly allow for the transparency of its nuclear sites with comprehensive inspections by the IAEA? We also question whether the Iranians will actually convert their clandestine enrichment center at Fordow into a center for nuclear physics and technology research, or whether they will downgrade their heavy-water reactor in Arak.
While Iranian double-speak is a legitimate concern, what’s even more disturbing is the regime’s straightforward talk when it comes to Israel. Just a few days ago a commander in the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, said that erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable”—a horribly frightening statement as negotiations were in the penultimate stage.
The incendiary remarks, obviously, don’t stop there. Several months ago, Iranian General Mohammad Ali Jafari said: “The range of (our) missiles covers all of Israel today. That means the fall of the Zionist regime, which will certainly come soon.” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei even stated that same month: “Whether a nuclear agreement is achieved or not, Israel will be more insecure each day.”
With a June 30 deadline set for a final deal, B’nai B’rith will be monitoring the specifics of the deal that are released in the coming months. B’nai B’rith urges Congress to carefully and stringently review the agreement during that time as well. A nuclear-ready Iran has consequences that would resonate far beyond Israel and the United States. Given the uncertainties of the deal and the enormity of the stakes, we hope that both parties in Congress will make their voices heard, as both the administration and Congress must play an active role in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.