In its second statement since the announcement of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said Wednesday that Congress should “reject” the agreement and “insist on a better deal.” The move to defy the Obama administration on the Iran deal is a noteworthy one for the staunchly bipartisan pro-Israel lobby.
AIPAC said the Iran deal “has significant flaws” in five areas: it “does not ensure ‘anytime, anywhere’ short-notice inspections;” “does not clearly condition sanctions relief on full Iranian cooperation in satisfying International Atomic Energy Agency concerns over the possible military dimensions of Tehran’s program;” “lifts sanctions as soon as the agreement commences, rather than gradually as Iran demonstrates sustained adherence to the agreement;” “lifts key restrictions in as few as eight years;” and “would disconnect and store centrifuges in an easily reversible manner, but it requires no dismantlement of centrifuges or any Iranian nuclear facility.”
According to a source who participated in an AIPAC conference call, the organization’s national board unanimously voted to reject the Iran nuclear deal, with AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr saying on the call that defeating the deal in Congress is both the most important task the group has ever faced and the reason AIPAC was created.
The nuclear deal, AIPAC noted in its official statement on Wednesday, “not only fails to achieve its objectives in the nuclear arena, but it releases Tehran in a matter of years—regardless of Iranian behavior—from ballistic missile sanctions and an arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council.” That “late, unexpected concession” will “provide additional arms for terrorism and proxy wars, while strengthening Iran’s capabilities against our regional allies,” AIPAC explained.
While the deal’s supporters “will argue that the only alternative to this agreement is military conflict,” in reality “the reverse is true,” according to AIPAC.
“A bad agreement such as this will invite instability and nuclear proliferation,” the lobby group said. “It will embolden Iran and may encourage regional conflict.”
On Tuesday, AIPAC’s previous statement about the nuclear deal took a softer tone and refrained from calling on Congress to reject the agreement. At the time, AIPAC said it would “issue a fuller assessment” upon a closer examination of the deal, and Wednesday’s follow-up statement apparently represented that assessment.
“Congress should reject this agreement, and urge the administration to work with our allies to maintain economic pressure on Iran while offering to negotiate a better deal that will truly close off all Iranian paths to a nuclear weapon,” AIPAC said Wednesday.
AIPAC also launched an online petition titled “Urge Your Member of Congress to Reject the Nuclear Agreement with Iran.”