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B’nai B’rith Endorses Continued Economic Sanctions; P5+1 Should Not Make Concessions Until Iran Fully Halts Its Nuclear Enrichment Program

As the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany) and Iran will continue on Nov. 20 to discuss easing sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, we reiterate our concerns about Iran’s intentions and stress that sanctions—which have impacted Iran economically—are directly responsible for bringing Tehran to the negotiating table.

The P5+1 should not make tangible concessions in exchange for illusory Iranian promises. 

Any agreement that does not include Iran’s shipping out its highly-processed uranium and does not also include a verifiable commitment to dismantle the heavy-water plutonium reactor at Arak should be viewed warily. To be acceptable, any deal must also include a verifiable destruction of Iran’s centrifuges, especially the IR-2 advanced centrifuges, along with an internationally-verifiable inspection of Iran’s hidden facilities. More than 20 years of deception by the regime in Tehran toward the West make us dubious of Iran’s true intentions.

Unless these matters are addressed we risk going down a slippery slope of negotiations; prolonged talks only benefit Iran, which will strive to negotiate a weakening of sanctions, even as the regime moves steadily closer to nuclear capability.

We are deeply concerned that concessions—including an unfreezing of financial assets—may be given to the Iranians prematurely, without receiving anything in exchange but an ephemeral, unsubstantiated promise of halting uranium enrichment.

With some experts estimating Iran could be within three months of nuclear weapons capability, to press forward without concrete proof of Iran’s halting its program would be a serious mistake.