White House national security officials tried to assuage leaders of American Jewish organizations about the newly reached nuclear deal between the P5+1 powers and Iran during several conference calls.
Officials spoke to groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the American Jewish Committee, and the Jewish Federations of North America. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, said Jewish leaders “raised the concerns that are quite obvious to the community and the issues that have come up regarding the process of the accord [and its] implementation.”
“We raised the questions about what the accord says about the [Iranian] weaponization program, the development of their ballistic missile system, what it says about the development and production… of centrifuges, what happened to the Arak [heavy water] facility… what happened to the uranium, why it was not removed, why they’re allowed to keep it, why the process does not call for dismantling the existing infrastructure as the [U.N.] Security Council resolutions call for,” Hoenlein told JNS.org.
The White House officials, according to Hoenlein, in some cases “indicated that these are issues they will address in the coming months and the next stage, and this is only an interim agreement, and we only learned yesterday that in fact [the agreement] doesn’t go into effect right now, it only goes into effect once the joint commission [to monitor the agreement’s implementation] is established, once the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) is able to verify that Iran is living up to its commitment.”
Hoenlein said that after the conference calls, Jewish leaders “understand [the deal] better, and that was the purpose.” Yet there is “every reason to be skeptical when you’re dealing with the Iranians,” he said.
“Their history is one of deception, manipulation, lying… and there’s nothing to indicate a change except the pressure of these sanctions and the internal Iranian reaction to them and the impact that [sanctions] had on the economy,” Hoenlein said. “[Iranian President Hassan) Rouhani was one of the negotiators, he was the key interlocutor from 2003 to 2007, and he wrote a book where he clearly proclaims how he lied, distorted, and manipulated in order to buy time for them to move ahead with their nuclear program.”
The U.S. and Israel “want the same thing out of this process, which is that Iran does not achieve nuclear weapons,” and it is critical that the allies “work together on what needs to be done to ensure that the final agreement or the next steps are really conducive to the ends that they declare they want,” Hoenlein said.