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On Iran would you believe 340 rabbis or 200 generals?

By David Singer - posted Monday, 7 September 2015


The upcoming debate and vote in the US Congress to endorse the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran (JCPOA) has become even more critical now that President Obama has reportedly secured the necessary votes to veto any Congressional resolution of disapproval.

Congress has been flooded with petitions - ostensibly neither Democrat nor Republican - urging Congressmen to cast their votes by crossing political party lines.

340 Rabbis in their appeal to Congress dated 17 August – have made the following assertions:

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  1. The Obama administration has successfully brought together the major international powers to confront Iran over its nuclear ambitions. The broad international sanctions moved Iran to enter this historic agreement. Should this agreement be rejected by the U.S. Congress, those sanctions will end. There will be no new negotiations, as the other member countries are fully in favor of this agreement and have no desire to re-negotiate.
  2. We understand that while this agreement blocks Iran's path to a nuclear bomb, we recognize it does not deal with Iran's support for terror, but that was never the purpose of these talks.

On the other hand some 200 retired generals and admirals in their open letter to Congress dated 25 August – have counterclaimed:

  1. As you know, on July 14, 2015, the United States and five other nations announced that a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reached with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. In our judgment as former senior military officers, the agreement will not have that effect.
  2. There is no credibility within JCPOA's inspection process or the ability to snap back sanctions once lifted, should Iran violate the agreement. In this and other respects, the JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.
  3. The agreement as constructed does not "cut off every pathway" for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. To the contrary, it actually provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal. JCPOA allows all the infrastructure the Iranians need for a nuclear bomb to be preserved and enhanced. Notably, Iran is allowed to: continue to enrich uranium; develop and test advanced centrifuges; and continue work on its Arak heavy-water plutonium reactor. Collectively, these concessions afford the Iranians, at worst, a ready breakout option and, at best, an incipient nuclear weapons capability a decade from now.

These claims are highly disturbing and require a reasoned and detailed rebuttal by President Obama prior to the Congress vote – especially since President Obama sought to assure America to the contrary in the following statement made by him on 15 July at his Press Conference:

It [JCPOA] solves one particular problem, which is making sure they don't have a bomb. And the point I've repeatedly made and I believe is hard to dispute is that it'll be a lot easier for us to check Iran's nefarious activities, to push back against the other areas where they operate contrary to our interests or our allies' interests if they don't have the bomb.

The considered opinion of 200 retired generals and admirals cannot be brushed off with a deafening silence from President Obama – nor can those 340 rabbis who call for support of the President on the basis of an "understanding".

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Before it votes - Congress should demand that President Obama provide it with written reasons substantiating that Iran cannot get the bomb under the terms of the concluded JCPOA.

Who has Obama conned - the Rabbis or the Generals? Congress – and the world - need to know.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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