The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
In an historic press conference Thursday, the countries in the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China) reached a framework agreement with Iran over Iran’s nuclear program. The agreement will, according to United States’ negotiating team, ensure that Iran’s “breakout capacity,” or the time that it could take Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, is lengthened to more than a year for the length of the agreement.
The framework, and the issues that it raises, is highly technical. Yet, we can say generally that Iran has agreed to place significant curbs on its nuclear program (by dismantling many facilities and making its uranium material less usable for nuclear weapons) and agreed to intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities in return for sanctions relief from the United States, European Union, and United Nations. To learn more about the framework agreement, check out the White House fact sheet and the Washington Post summary.
Reform Movement leaders released a statement Thursday, expressing “grave concerns about the ability of a potential deal to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon,” while also realizing, “A negotiated resolution of these problems will be difficult to reach, but all the alternatives to such a resolution are grim.”
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following comment:
"At its core, the Passover holiday we will begin observing in just a few hours is about negotiating with a tyrant to deliver ourselves to freedom. As we think about our grave concerns about some aspects of the joint statement between the P5+1 and Iran, that story feels all too relevant. As the Obama Administration negotiates between now and June the final details of today’s framework, we urge them to remain firm in their commitment to resolve the negotiations successfully on favorable terms, assuring the American people and the international community that Iran’s nuclear program is transparent and peaceful."
Leaders of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the RAC, and the Commission on Social Action released joint comments on a statement of progress from the P5+1 and Iran:
"A negotiated resolution of these problems will be difficult to reach, but all the alternatives to such a resolution are grim.
At the same time, we express our grave concerns about aspects of the announced framework. Very serious questions about such matters as inspection, verification, break-out time, and the timing of removal or easing of sanctions remain. Concerns raised by Prime Minister Netanyahu and others about Iran’s nuclear weapons program are serious and real. It seems clear that the Iranian government has yet to make the significant concessions that will be required of it."
You can read the statement in full here in the RAC's press room. You can also read an earlier statement from RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner calling for respectful, measured discourse on this topic.
As Rabbi Rick Jacobs reflected today in the Washington Post, the Passover season provides an opportunity to dive into tough conversations; to approach divisive and sensitive topics with respect; and to learn more about how these global conversations on international security and peace affect our own communities. To learn more about Reform Jewish perspectives on this issue, visit the RAC's Iran web page.