March 11, 2022 — New York
In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO David Harris has expressed grave concerns about the Iran nuclear deal emerging from more than eight months of negotiations in Vienna.
“If the final result in Vienna is a return to essentially the same inadequate 2015 package, we will be left to wonder on what basis such an agreement advances regional and global security,” said Harris in the letter.
AJC opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) because the intention to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability “was undermined by the deal’s shortcomings, including its time limits on uranium enrichment restrictions and the deployment of advanced centrifuges, and its curbs on intrusive IAEA inspections and, here at home, the failure to achieve any bipartisan consensus in support of the deal,” Harris wrote. In addition, the 2015 agreement contained no provisions to curtail Iran’s ballistic missile program.
“Much of what we feared in 2015 has come true,” Harris continued. “In the six-plus years since the deal was implemented, Iran’s regional behavior has crossed one red line after another, with periodic missile and drone attacks by Iran and its proxies on U.S., Israeli, and GCC targets. Its missile program has advanced.” Following the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018, Iran “has leapt ahead in the deployment of sophisticated centrifuges and the stockpiling of near-weapons-grade fissile material.”
The AJC letter acknowledges that the Biden Administration, from its beginning, has faced an Iran even more out of compliance with the JCPOA terms, amassing a substantial stockpile of highly enriched uranium, since the 2018 U.S. decision to withdraw and impose multiple sanctions.
Harris noted the Secretary’s assurances that the Administration’s objective in re-entering negotiations with Iran was to produce a “longer and stronger” agreement, implying recognition of the unfulfilled aspirations of the 2015 nuclear deal.
“It is AJC’s earnest hope that the process underway in Vienna since last spring will yield the agreement you set as your goal,” the AJC letter concluded.