The core mission of the Jewish Federation of Greater Harford is to work to assure the continued well-being and security of the Jewish people at home, in Israel, and around the world. Towards this end, in our unique role as community conveners and educators, the Board has recently engaged in extensive review and discussion regarding the proposed agreement with Iran, known as the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA). Board members have listened to, and continue to listen to, many diverse points of view, both within and outside the Jewish community, as well as to foreign policy experts and our elected leaders. The depth of interest and concern is great; the diversity of viewpoints equally great. The Board’s extensive deliberations mirrored this same depth and diversity.
After much thought and respectful discussion, and with considerable humility, we express the following observations and concerns regarding the proposed agreement.
- We are cognizant of the significant challenges faced in arriving at an agreement acceptable to all parties and credit the Administration for its determined pursuit of a diplomatic approach to curtailing the spread of nuclear weapons.
- We believe the core objective of the talks with Iran, to eliminate its ability to develop nuclear weapons, was and must remain a fundamental objective of American foreign policy. This objective, if achieved, will protect the security interests of the United States, its Middle East front-line democratic ally Israel, and other allies.
- The agreement does not address Iran’s promotion of terrorism in the Middle East, or its commitment to destroy Israel.
In the context of the above-noted observations, we share the following significant concerns.
- INSPECTIONS: We believe any agreement with Iran must contain inspection protocols that provide rapid unencumbered access to inspection sites. The utilization of Iranian personnel to inspect their own sites, as indicated in a related agreement, is highly suspect and unacceptable.
- RESTORATION OF SANCTIONS: If Iran violates the agreement, sanctions should automatically be reinstated and a mechanism to accomplish this rapidly should be in place.
- ENFORCEMENT: The United States should communicate that it is prepared to use all options available, including military, to uphold the terms of the agreement. MIDDLE EAST DESTABILIZATION: Pending agreement approval, the initial elimination of sanctions will result in a windfall to the Iranian government. These funds will almost certainly be used to further destabilize the Middle East, including the borders and security of Israel. To protect its ally, the United States should (a) provide Israel with advanced weaponry, including the Massive Ordinance Penetrator and the requisite aircraft, to enable Israel to better protect itself and (b) provide assurances that the U.S. will come to Israel’s aid if it is attacked.
- POST YEAR 15. The agreement does not prevent Iran’s ultimate path to a nuclear weapon in the long term, a requirement that was considered essential to any such deal. In particular, the agreement post year 15 is silent on Iran’s being able to process highly enriched uranium for which there is no legitimate civilian purpose. We urge the government to make clear it is the US policy to use all means necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring or building a nuclear weapon both during the agreement and after its expiration.
We acknowledge the many diverse views within our own community. All of us who love both the United States and Israel and who yearn for peace in the Middle East nevertheless may have different ideas about how to achieve our goal. Yet we are one when it comes to the concerns voiced in this statement. We encourage members of the community to form their own opinions and to reach out to their elected representatives in the House and the Senate to share their opinions and any concerns they may have, and we call on our elected representatives to work with the Administration to address these critically important issues.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER HARTFORD