Statement on the Iran Deal

The following statement was issued by the Workmen’s Circle President Peter Pepper and Executive Director Ann Toback in response to the Iran nuclear deal that was announced in July 2015.

The Workmen’s Circle urges all Americans to support the agreement between Iran and the six world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear activity. The agreement, one of the strictest, most comprehensive nuclear agreements ever negotiated, offers the best promise for a safer world for decades to come. Efforts to block it through congressional action are reckless and irresponsible, and we urge our fellow citizens to oppose them.

The agreement follows a decade of efforts by the United States, the United Nations Security Council and others to persuade Iran to halt its efforts to develop nuclear weapons capability.

The negotiations process launched by the Obama administration in 2013 brought a breakthrough by securing Iran’s agreement to halt its uranium enrichment in return for limited sanctions relief. Those negotiations resulted in the agreement signed in Vienna on July 14, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. In it, Iran agreed to give up 98 percent of its stock of enriched uranium and disable two-thirds of its working centrifuges, in return for relaxation of the crippling sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.N., the E.U. and the United States. The agreement has various elements that last for 10 to 15 years. It also includes an unprecedented system of intrusive inspections of Iran’s facilities, some of them lasting 25 years, some of them permanent.

Notably, the agreement does not require the United States to lift sanctions imposed on Iran in response to its aggressive behavior in the Middle East, including sponsorship of terrorism and destabilization of its neighbors. That behavior marks Iran’s regime as a profound threat to its neighbors, including Israel. Attainment of nuclear weaponry would have magnified that threat exponentially. The agreement does not eliminate Iran’s hostile behavior, but it actively works to prevent its escalation to a potential nuclear confrontation.

Opponents of the agreement claim that congressional rejection of the agreement would somehow lead to harsher international sanctions and induce Iran to accept more sweeping restrictions. That is fantasy. Congressional rejection would collapse the process and free Iran to continue unrestricted nuclearization. The world would be a less safe place. The United States would once again face international condemnation for reckless unilateralism. And those interest groups that led the congressional lobbying, including major Jewish organizations, would draw unwanted international attention and hostility.

We salute the Obama administration for seeing the negotiations through to agreement, and we call on all citizens, and first of all on our fellow Jews, to support the agreement’s approval in Congress. Click here to find your elected official and ask them to support this deal.