B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
With reports that the P5+1 (United States, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom) and Tehran may be close to a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, B’nai B’rith International expresses its ongoing concern about the viability of the plan.
Media are reporting that talks are wrapping up between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Mohammed Zarif, foreign minister of Iran, with the outlines of a possible long-term agreement reached about Iran’s nuclear activities.
With a month to go before this initial framework is to be implemented, B’nai B’rith urges the White House and the P5+1 to toughen their approach on Tehran to close gaps in the agreement on such issues as plutonium enrichment, intrusive inspections, and the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program.
The global ramifications of Iran gaining access to nuclear weapons are immense. It is important that the parameters of an agreement undergo additional scrutiny and debate before a deal is struck. We appeal to the administration and the P5+1 to revisit these issues and others lest we find in a decade or less that Iran is nuclear weapons ready. Reports indicate that a plan is emerging that would limit Iran’s ability to produce nuclear material for 10 years, but would include a provision loosening those restrictions in the final years of the deal. This is a major concern to us.
Skepticism of Iran’s true nuclear intentions is natural, in light of the regime’s own words and actions.
Just a few 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 stated that same month: “Whether a nuclear agreement is achieved or not, Israel will be more insecure each day.”
Even during the long months of negotiations, Iran has continued to sponsor international terror organizations, enrich uranium, defy the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), pursue plans to build intercontinental ballistic missiles and hide the military dimensions of its nuclear program. While there is still time, these concerns must be addressed by negotiators. Additionally, Iran continues to extend its influence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and now Yemen, continues to abuse human rights, denies rights to political opposition groups, and has jailed a Washington Post reporter in Tehran. If Iran is so defiant while negotiations are underway, what can we expect once a deal is signed?
A nuclear-ready Iran has consequences that would resonate far beyond Israel and the United States. It is incumbent on the negotiators to consider this and not enter into a deal that puts Iran one step closer to nuclear weapons capability.
On Dec. 22, B’nai B’rith International sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to request a clear, public pledge of American opposition to Palestinian and other efforts to impose political demands on Israel through the United Nations. The Palestinian Authority has launched a new effort to deliver an ultimatum for Israeli compliance with its political objectives, this time at the U.N. Security Council. As B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin write to Kerry in the letter, this latest circumvention of negotiations with Israel is unacceptable and the United States must consistently push back against these efforts, employing its veto power in the Security Council when necessary, if peace is to be achieved.
Jacobs and Mariaschin write: “As you know, the Palestinian Authority has openly spoken of its strategy to ‘internationalize’ the conflict with Israel, and this further politicization of global institutions in the context of an already difficult regional reality is the last thing needed in the pursuit of calm, reconciliation and peace in the Middle East. Sadly, [last] week, a draft Security Council resolution was circulated that would unacceptably dictate demands of Israel outside the framework of direct negotiations and mutual compromise with the Palestinians. In the event that its inherent ultimatum is not met, the Palestinian Authority has even threatened to import tensions with Israel to the International Criminal Court, dangerously risking impediment to essential counterterrorism efforts. Reportedly, other actors in the international community have also considered advancing their own related proposals at the Security Council.
The UN – along, of course, with the U.S., the European Union and Russia – is a member of the Quartet on Middle East peace, which long ago established that Palestinian-Israeli disputes can be resolved only through serious, meaningful bilateral talks. As a critical element of foreign policy, and a reflection of broad-based bipartisan commitment, the U.S. has consistently stood against the exploitation of the UN as a political tool against our key ally, Israel. It is vitally in the American national interest, and in the interest of a genuine and lasting peace, that the U.S. make known publicly and unambiguously that it will oppose a Palestinian posture of unilateralism and confrontation in global bodies, let alone motions that fail to uphold Israel’s security needs and identity as a Jewish state.”
To read the full letter, click here.