NOTE: A version of this post was sent to JCRC’s Council earlier today, Sunday, November 24.
 
Like most people we are just beginning to absorb the news out of Geneva early this morning of an interim nuclear deal between world powers (the “P5+1”) and Iran.  While JCRC isn’t making a statement yet I want to share (below) some of the pieces we’ve been reading today as we try to understand the deal itself as well as its impact for our work.  
 
I think it is fair to say that many people are still wrapping their heads around the facts of the deal along with the implications. Without fully understanding the deal itself yet, it is worth reminding ourselves that for many years we have been devoted to an aggressive sanctions campaign. The campaign’s explicit aim was to get Iran to forgo its nuclear weapon program without the need for the use of military force.  It is virtually impossible for us to suspend our incredulity and to place our trust in an Iranian regime that just today is carrying on in public about the “plots” of the “Zionist regime” (see here). At the same time this is only an interim agreement and in many ways the true test – and the ability to assess the efforts of P5+1 and those who place hope in this process – is yet to come in the months ahead.

 
We now face several months of implementation and an effort toward a final agreement. Concurrently, several other diplomatic and security interests of Israel and her neighbors are also unfolding in these coming months. It is these moments – filled with great hopes and the desire to be optimistic alongside the legitimate cautions we hold for Israel as she faces existential threats – that challenge and test us.  With your participation we will continue our efforts to support Israel by engaging our neighbors and the broader civic society to fully understand our community’s perspectives including our support for diplomacy as well as the very legitimate fear that this process may fail to stop Iran’s efforts.
 
I hope you find the clips below to be informative and I invite you to suggest others (in the comments section) that should inform our discussions. Follow us on Twitter (@BurtonJM and @BostonJCRC) and Facebook for more regular clips and updates.  On behalf of the entire JCRC leadership, I encourage your thoughts and questions as well as your suggestions about what we can and should be doing in the weeks and months ahead to support our entire network’s efforts to support Israel in Boston’s public square.
 
Jeremy Burton

Executive Director
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston
 
Some Readings On Today’s Events:
From the U.S. Government:
From Israel and the Region:
Initial reactions from national Jewish agencies:
  • The Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA), which is an umbrella network of CRCs and several national agencies issued a statement which I have included below, describing the agreement as a potential stepping stone toward a final agreement, while reiterating that Iran has done little to deserve our trust.
  • American Jewish Committee (AJC) says that a diplomatic agreement is unquestionably preferable while raising several serious questions that must be answered in order to evaluate the deal. 
  • Anti Defamation League (ADL) expresses deep concerns about flaws in the agreement including Iran’s record of non-compliance 
  • I haven’t yet seen statements from AIPAC or the Conference of Presidents. Both of these organizations, along with the above nationals, have been part of a broad consensus campaign to focus on the impact, effectiveness and more recently to begin pushing for Congressional action toward potential additional sanctions on Iran.  J Street, which has been alone amongst national agencies represented in JCRC by recently campaigning against any new sanctions effort, released this statement today backing the Geneva deal.
Five pieces of analysis today from the pundits and foreign policy crowd:
  • Aaron David Miller (Woodrow Wilson Center) offer five reasons why the deal might fail: Let’s Not Celebrate This Iran Deal…Yet 
  • Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg: In Iran, Obama Achieves 50 Percent of His Goals 
  • Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren: Can Netanyahu turn interim failure into end-game success? 
  • JTA’s Ben Sales: Understanding the deal with Iran | 
  • Slate’s Fred Kaplan: This is exactly the deal that Obama hoped to achieve in Geneva. 
  • Also this fascinating piece from AP: Secret US-Iran talks in Oman last March set stage for nuke deal

    THE WHITE HOUSE

    Office of the Press Secretary

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    November 24, 2013

    Readout of the President’s call with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

    President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu today to discuss the P5+1’s first step agreement with Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program.  The two leaders reaffirmed their shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  The President noted that the P5+1 will use the months ahead to pursue a lasting, peaceful, and comprehensive solution that would resolve the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program.  Consistent with our commitment to consult closely with our Israeli friends, the President told the Prime Minister that he wants the United States and Israel to begin consultations immediately regarding our efforts to negotiate a comprehensive solution.  The President underscored that the United States will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be skeptical about Iran’s intentions.  The President and Prime Minister agreed to stay in close contact on this issue as the P5+1 and Iran negotiate a long-term solution over the next six months.


    JCPA Statement on the Interim Agreement with Iran

    WASHINGTON, DC –JCPA President and CEO Rabbi Steve Gutow released the following statement today regarding the interim agreement reached in Geneva between the P5+1 countries and Iran regarding that state’s nuclear program:

    “Though Iran has done little to deserve our trust, diplomacy is preferable to military action. At the same time, we support President Obama when he says that no option should be taken off the table. Thus, we believe the interim agreement reached in Geneva today has the potential to serve as a valuable stepping stone to a final agreement that can serve the long term security interests of the United States, Israel, the Middle East and the entire international community.  Such a final agreement, which should be negotiated in a tight time frame, must not leave Iran in a position to continue its drive for nuclear weapons capability, or to be able to restart it with ease anytime in the future.  The menace of a nuclear armed Iran needs to be eliminated once and for all.”

    “We also believe that it is important to maintain strong economic pressures on Iran until a satisfactory final agreement is reached as well as the strict inspection and verification mechanisms to ensure compliance with today’s interim agreement.  Economic pressures caused Iran to come to the negotiating table, and they will contribute to the effort to reach a final agreement.  Intrusive inspections can help ensure Iran does not continue to development of nuclear weapons while negotiations for a final agreement continue.”

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