July 14, 2015 - New York - The announcement today of a deal between the P5+1, led by the United States, and Iran on its nuclear program culminates intense and difficult negotiations spanning several years.
"President Barack Obama was determined, against all the odds, to see if such an accord was possible," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "The dedicated efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry, joined by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, and other government officials, turned his vision into a reality."
"Given the immensely high-stakes nature of the agreement, its layers of complexity, the many probing questions that have been asked about it by experts in the field, including what happens to Iran's nuclear program upon the expiration of the deal, and the dangerous nature of the regime, it is now incumbent on the United States Congress, pursuant to the provisions of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, to thoroughly review, debate, and, ultimately, vote it up or down," Harris added.
"That process should be driven by one central question: Will the deal enhance the security of the United States, our allies in the Middle East, and the world? If so, then it should be supported. If not, then it must be opposed. This may be the single most important foreign policy issue of our generation to come before legislators in Washington. As a nation, we absolutely must get it right. This agreement ought to be weighed on its merits only - nothing more, nothing less."
The nuclear deal concluded in Vienna does not appear to address other extremely troubling aspects of Iranian behavior.
AJC remains deeply concerned about (i) Iran's ICBM program, which cannot be explained except for ominous military purposes; (ii) its repeated calls, including in recent days, for the annihilation of Israel and "death to America;" (iii) its direct involvement in terrorism and support for terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah; (iv) its hegemonic ambitions in the region, from Lebanon to Syria, from Iraq to Yemen; and (v) its systematic repression of human rights, as amply documented in the most recent State Department report on human rights around the world.
"However Congress decides to vote on the nuclear deal," Harris concluded, "the need for vigilance regarding Iran will not for a single moment be diminished. Indeed, with the prospect of the unfreezing of Iranian assets abroad and the lifting of sanctions as a result of this agreement, the flow of funds will grow substantially, enhancing still further Iran's capacity to trample on the values we cherish and pose profound threats to our vital partners in the Middle East and beyond."
"We will be commenting further on the just-announced deal, and sharing our views with Members of Congress, once we've had the opportunity to better understand its details," Harris concluded.
AJC has been involved on a daily basis, over the past 15 years, in following nuclear developments in Iran and consulting with government officials in capitals around the world about the looming threat of Iran as a threshold nuclear state.