In the wake of announcements by the government of the United States, its five negotiating partners and the Iranian regime of a deal with regard to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the following statement was issued jointly by the leaderships of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the Rabbinical Council of America (respectively, the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization and the largest national rabbinic membership organization nationwide):
The leaders of the Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America are gravely concerned about the deal announced yesterday between the U.S. and its five negotiating partners and the Iranian regime.
Given the gravity of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and this complex agreement, we did not— despite our skepticism—formulate a position or issue a policy statement about it immediately after President Barack Obama announced the deal at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Rather, we took the time to read the agreement, hear from senior Obama Administration officials as well as Israeli leaders, and consider the analysis of experts in the field.
Our assessment of the agreement, and of the presentations by government officials and analysts, is driven by one fundamental question: Will the proposed agreement protect the security of the United States, Israel and our other allies?
By this standard, we have found the deal with Iran seriously wanting and will mobilize our member rabbis and synagogues throughout the nation to urge Congress to fulfill their mandate and disapprove the agreement.
At this time, we note two critical concerns about the agreement. First, the inspections regime is insufficient to ensure Iran cannot cheat and surreptitiously develop nuclear weapons, despite President Obama’s promise that the deal would be subject to the toughest verification and inspections in the world. This agreement falls far short of providing “anytime, anywhere” inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors. Moreover, the agreement gives Iran the ability to deflect inspections at a site for enough time (more than three weeks) to remove and hide materiel it does not want discovered.
Second, President Obama asserted that “we are giving up nothing” by testing Iran’s compliance with the deal. However, under this agreement Iran will receive billions of dollars in funds that it can use to fuel even more terrorism and destabilizing activities across the globe.
Congress’ consideration of this agreement over the next 60 days is likely the most important foreign policy decision of our generation. It must consider the concerns raised above and other critical issues we will raise in the coming days.
The Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America—through the OU Advocacy Center—will work in the coming weeks to mobilize our rabbis and synagogues across the United States to ensure our elected representatives hear our concerns and fulfill their solemn responsibility to protect and defend our vital national security interests.