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Reform Movement Applauds Bipartisan House Vote for Targeted Iran Sanctions

Yoffie: “The United States must be ready to employ stronger economic tactics to curtail Iran’s threatening nuclear efforts, and today’s vote brings us closer to that goal.”

Contact: Kate Bigam or Liz Piper-Goldberg
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 15, 2009 – In response to today’s House passage of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

The Reform Jewish Movement welcomes today’s bipartisan House vote in support of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanction Act. This bill’s passage represents a crucial move toward applying economic diplomacy against the Iranian regime. The United States must be ready to employ stronger economic tactics to curtail Iran’s threatening nuclear efforts, and today’s vote brings us closer to that goal.

Iran’s nuclear aspirations are a serious threat to the United States, Israel, and the international community. In November 2009, the Union for Reform Judaism unanimously passed a resolution urging Congress and the Administration to adopt effective sanctions legislation against Iran until it cooperates with international authorities. Jewish rules on just warfare eschew weapons that would kill indiscriminately and create sustained and lasting damage to the environment. Further, Iran’s aggressive posture toward Israel imperils the stability of the already volatile Middle East region.

Economic sanctions are a compelling way to make clear to the Iranian government that the pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability is unacceptable. The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009, introduced by Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, strengthens the President's authority to impose sanctions limiting Iran's ability to import and produce refined petroleum products. These targeted sanctions will significantly impact the Iranian government and economy, as Iran imports about 40 percent of its refined petroleum. Such sanctions are the next step in our diplomatic efforts and are necessary until there are substantial assurances that the government of Iran has ceased all efforts to a develop nuclear weapons program.

We commend Representative Berman and Representative Ros-Lehtinen for their leadership in guiding this legislation through committee and to the floor. The House vote today represents a decisive move toward preventing a nuclear Iran. We encourage the Senate to move forward with the companion legislation, S. 908, so that the world may enjoy a peaceful new year to come.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.

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