The American Jewish Committee announced its opposition to the Iran deal on Wednesday, after “three weeks” of discussions with top Obama administration officials, lawmakers and diplomats from Europe, Israel and Arab countries.
Though it heard arguments from President Barack Obama (who called the deal on Wednesday the “strongest nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated”), Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and even spoke directly with Secretary of State John Kerry, the group said it was convinced the Iran deal would not prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
In fact, the group expressed concern that the agreement pursued by the Obama administration and five other world powers — China, Iran, the U.K., France and Germany — paved the way for Iran to become a nuclear threshold state “even if it never violated the deal.”
In a statement released by AJC Executive Director David Harris, the group said it could not accept the nuclear deal because of the fundamental nature of the Iranian regime, and because it could trigger a nuclear and conventional arms race in the Middle East thus endangering U.S. interests and destabilizing the world’s most volatile region.
The group rejected the charge that the alternative to the Iran deal is war — a claim underscored by Obama when he compared the Iran deal to diplomacy that prevented the Cuban missile crisis from leading to an armed confrontation.
“We do not support war against Iran, nor have we ever advocated for the use of force, though we have always believed in a credible military option as a way of convincing Iran of our seriousness of purpose,” wrote Harris. “We understand that opposing this deal raises important questions about the future that no one can answer today with certainty, much as we believe that, faced with strong American leadership, Iran would find it in its own best interests to return to the negotiating table sooner or later. But we know with greater certainty that this deal raises still more ominous questions about the future.”