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Reform Jewish Movement Reiterates Deep Concern Over Iranian Nuclear Program

Reform Jewish Movement Reiterates Deep Concern Over Iranian Nuclear Program

Reform Movement leaders call for Congress and White House to work together to avoid development of weapons that would beProfoundly destabilizing to the Middle East, to vital American interests, and to the entire world order.”

 

Contact: Max Rosenblum or Annette Powers
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

 

Washington, D.C., January 21, 2015 – In anticipation of the Senate’s consideration of Iran sanctions legislation, Reform Movement leaders yesterday sent a letter to President Obama and lead bill sponsors Senators Kirk and Menendez urging a compromise that will facilitate, without legislation, swift implementation of sanctions should negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program fail. The full texts of the letters follow.

Dear Senators Kirk and Menendez,

As you know, we are just over five months away from the June 30, 2015 deadline for conclusion of negotiations with Iran concerning its nuclear program.  We share the position that you have both so forcefully advanced: that Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons capabilities. Like you, we believe that such weapons would be profoundly destabilizing to the Middle East, to vital American interests, and to the entire world order.

We further agree with you that sanctions have proven to be a successful tool in bringing Iran to the negotiating table.  The threat of imposing additional sanctions is one of the most valuable means we have to keep Iran negotiating productively toward a positive result.  For these reasons, we support legislation making clear the significant sanctions that will be imposed on Iran should negotiations fail to reach a positive result by June 30.

At the same time, we seek to maximize the possibility that the ongoing negotiations are successful.  We are mindful of the argument made by President Obama and others that legislating new sanctions at this time may have a negative impact on the talks and provide Iran with justification for stepping away from the negotiating table. We also share the concern that new sanctions legislation at this time may undermine the crucial but fragile international consensus that has been so important to the negotiating process. 

In light of the significance of the issue at hand, we urge you to do your utmost to work with the Obama Administration toward a compromise that will facilitate, without legislation, swift implementation of sanctions should negotiations with Iran fail.

These are complicated issues, and the stakes could not be higher.  We commend you for your leadership and stand ready to work with you to achieve the goal we share.

Respectfully,

 

Rabbi Jonah Pesner
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

 

Rabbi Rick Jacobs                                                                Rabbi Steve Fox
President, Union for Reform Judaism                                  CEO, Central Conference of American Rabbis

 

Steve Sacks                                                                                Rabbi Rick Block
Chairman, Union for Reform Judaism                                 President, Central Conference of American Rabbis

 


President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20500

January 20, 2015

Dear President Obama,

As you know, we are just over five months away from the June 30, 2015 deadline for conclusion of negotiations with Iran concerning its nuclear program. We hold the position that Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons capabilities. Like you, we believe that such weapons would be profoundly destabilizing to the Middle East, to vital American interests and to the entire world order.

Sanctions have proven to be a successful tool in bringing Iran to the negotiating table. The threat of imposing additional sanctions is one of the most valuable means we have to keep Iran negotiating productively toward a positive result. For these reasons, we support legislation making clear the significant sanctions that will be imposed on Iran should negotiations fail to reach a positive result by June 30.

At the same time, we seek to maximize the possibility that the ongoing negotiations are successful. We are mindful of the argument you and others have made that legislating new sanctions at this time may have a negative impact on the talks and provide Iran with justification for stepping away from the negotiating table. We also share the concern that new sanctions legislation at this time may undermine the crucial but fragile international consensus that has been so important to the negotiating process.

In light of the significance of the issue at hand, we urge you to do your utmost to work with members of Congress, including Senators Kirk and Menendez, toward a compromise that will facilitate, without legislation, swift implementation of sanctions should negotiations with Iran fail.

These are complicated issues, and the stakes could not be higher. We commend you for your leadership and stand ready to work with you to achieve the goal we share.

 

Respectfully,

 

Rabbi Jonah Pesner
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

 

Rabbi Rick Jacobs                                             Rabbi Steve Fox
President, Union for Reform Judaism                CEO, Central Conference of American Rabbis

 

Steve Sacks                                                        Rabbi Rick Block
Chairman, Union for Reform Judaism               President, Central Conference of American Rabbis

 

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.

Published: 01/20/2015