After careful study, B’nai B’rith International has concluded that the Iran nuclear agreement is unlikely to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. We therefore call on Congress to reject the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
As we noted when the deal was announced on July 14, it is impossible to look at Iran’s track record and trust the regime to adhere to the terms of this pact.
The JCPOA requires an unprecedented suspension of disbelief that Iran has only peaceful intentions for its nuclear program. Given its decades of dissembling, it is infeasible to conclude that Tehran will honor its obligations under this agreement.
To be sure, the P5+1 (the United States plus China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany) worked hard during the long negotiating period to secure a deal. The goal of preventing an Iran with nuclear weapons is one shared by much of the world. But this deal is unlikely to fulfill that ambition.
B’nai B’rith appreciates the opportunities given us to meet with administration officials, to hear their explanation of the plan's details and to understand the reasoning behind some of the provisions of the agreement.
How to respond to Iran's nuclear weapons program is one of the most significant national security questions to face the United States in the past decade. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the issue has aroused such passion among so many. We respect that both Democrats and Republicans have approached this issue with great seriousness and have reached varying conclusions that sometimes cut across party lines. We further acknowledge that those who share the goal of blocking Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons may differ about the policy most likely to achieve that outcome.
Still, our reading of the agreement and our understanding of the political and historical context in which the JCPOA would be implemented have heavily influenced our decision to oppose it.
“We listened, we read, we analyzed and we have concluded that we cannot support this deal with Iran,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “We have doubts about elevating the international status of Iran, which has done nothing to prove it will keep its word.”
Even in the days leading up to the agreement, on “al-Quds Day,” government supported crowds shouted, “death to America” and "death to Israel," as U.S. and Israeli flags were burned across the country. These are not the actions of a nation ready to find common ground with the world’s democracies.
Our concerns about the lifting of sanctions also have not been adequately resolved. Iran is the largest state-sponsor of global terror with its proxies such as Hezbollah the world over. Tehran is likely to use the cash that will flow from the absence of sanctions to fund the regime's ongoing terrorist ambitions. The specter of "snapback sanctions" provides little comfort, as measures that took the international community years to coalesce around are unlikely to be rejuvenated once they have been dismantled.
Nor are our questions about the verification process satisfied by the JCPOA. Verification remained a sticking point throughout the labored negotiating process and, in the final document, is still not addressed to our comfort. In light of the deal's significant verification loopholes and Iran’s history of concealing its nuclear program and turning away inspectors, it is logical to conclude that inspectors will never obtain the unmanaged, unfettered or spontaneous access necessary to monitor Iran’s nuclear sites.
“There is no middle ground here. Iran’s credibility is illusory. The stakes are far too high to ignore Tehran’s history of deception by accepting this deal,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
At no point during the nearly two years of negotiations has Iran lessened its support for terrorist organizations, its goals of hegemony in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East or its continued abuse of human rights.
Just days after the deal was announced, Iran again invoked its practice of deception. News reports indicate that Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the secretive, terror-orchestrating Iranian Quds Force, met with senior Russian leaders in Moscow, even though he was barred from leaving Iran by a U.N. Security Council resolution. The Quds Force reports directly to Iran’s supreme leader and has exported terror throughout the Middle East and beyond.
These are not the actions of a regime capable of demonstrating the transparency and cooperation required of it by the terms of this deal.
We firmly reject the notion that the only alternative to this agreement is war. We have long advocated that the best means of ensuring Iran's compliance with international demands is pressure—in the form of ever-tightening sanctions, combined with diplomatic isolation and the credible threat of military force. The international community should respond to Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons by increasing, rather than relieving, pressure on the regime until it has produced meaningful results.
B’nai B’rith International urges Congress to vote next month to disapprove of the agreement.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International commends the United States and Australia for voting today against a Palestinian resolution submitted to the United Nations Security Council on Monday that would have imposed an arbitrary deadline and terms for settling the Palestinian-Israeli issue. By bringing its list of demands to the United Nations and attempting to force Israel to acquiesce through a third party, the Palestinian Authority (PA) sought to exploit the world body to advance its political agenda.
B’nai B’rith has vocally objected to any PA attempt to deliver an ultimatum for Israeli compliance with its objectives. This latest circumvention of negotiations with Israel is no different. In typical PA fashion, the resolution blatantly failed to ensure Israel’s security and identity as a Jewish state.
We applaud the United States and Australia for their commitment to push back against these efforts in defense of a genuine and constructive path to peace. The two votes against, combined with five abstentions from Lithuania, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Korea and the United Kingdom denied the Palestinians the minimum of nine votes needed to adopt the resolution.
The countries that voted in favor of the one-sided resolution—in contravention of longtime international insistence upon direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations—were Argentina, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Luxembourg and Russia.
Peace can only be achieved through meaningful, bilateral negotiations. The PA’s continued internationalization of the conflict with Israel has only exacerbated the situation. Those countries that genuinely seek a peaceful resolution of this conflict must impress upon the Palestinians to cease exporting and enflaming the conflict by joining new multinational bodies, beginning with the International Criminal Court, in an effort to deploy them as political weapons against Israel.
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.