Jewish-American Groups Scrutinize Iran Deal

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Workers prepare the stage at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, March 2, 2015.Credit: Reuters

Within hours of the unveiling on Tuesday of a nuclear pact between Iran and six world powers, the loudest pro-Israel voice in Washington was warning the U.S. Congress of problems, marking the onset of what promises to be a furious lobbying campaign. 

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement it was "deeply concerned" that the deal "would fail to block Iran's path to a nuclear weapon and further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror." 

The considerable clout of pro-Israel interests on Capitol Hill will play an important role in deciding the fate of the pact, hammered out in Vienna after many months by Iran, the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany. 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also criticized the deal, saying it was "deeply disappointed" with the agreement, adding that it "falls short" of its objective of ensuring Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapons.

"The thrust of the deal relies entirely on Iran’s good faith and the ability of the IAEA to effectively carry out its inspection obligations," ADL National Chair Barry Curtiss-Lusher and National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement. "In ten years, Iran will be able to rapidly expand its enrichment capacity."

The ADL added that "the front-end loaded infusion of billions of dollars in sanctions relief will finance Iran’s ongoing global campaign of terror against Israel and other U.S. allies, and be used to further exert its influence across the Middle East thereby harming U.S. interests."

The statement called on Congress to "carefully scrutinize this agreement" and "move to debate a national security matter of utmost significance and seriousness."

J Street published a statement saying it welcomed the agreement struck with Iran.

"[F]rom what we have seen so far and what we have learned from President Barack Obama and the negotiators, this agreement appears to accurately reflect the parameters set forth in the April" in Lausanne.

The group called on Congress to "to support the deal as the best – if not only – means of ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons."

Meanwhile, The Jewish Federations of North America said in a statement it hopes "diplomatic efforts will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons," but expressed concern over Iran's support of Hezbollah and Hamas and its regional aggressions. The JFNA also called on Congress "to give this accord its utmost scrutiny."

Reform Jewish Movement also issued a statement, in which it expressed appreciation of the "diplomatic resolution with Iran on containment of its nuclear program." The statement urged a broad discussion of the agreement and called on "all committed parties to take carefully considered approaches before rushing to conclusions."

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