The Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee approved a statement on Aug. 25 opposing the nuclear agreement with Iran and urging Congress to reject it.
The board’s overwhelming vote in favor of the statement came a day after the Federation held an open, 90-minute community discussion of the issue at the Gordon Jewish Community Center attended by about 100 people. Moderator Mark S. Freedman, the Federation’s executive director, outlined the parameters of the agreement, summarized arguments for and against it, reviewed the congressional approval process expected to take place this month, and then took more than a dozen questions and comments from both supporters and opponents of the deal.
STATEMENT ON THE IRAN AGREEMENT
It is with regret and deep concern that the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee urges the U.S. Congress to reject the Iran nuclear deal, which threatens to further destabilize the Middle East and will impact short and long-term security concerns in America, in Israel and throughout the world.
This statement represents the views of a majority of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. We recognize, acknowledge and appreciate that there are members of the board and in the wider Jewish community whose viewpoints differ from those reflected in this statement. We hope that those holding differing viewpoints will respect the thoughtful process we undertook in arriving at this position and that all members of our Jewish community will continue to support the important work of the Federation in assisting the most vulnerable in our community, in Israel and wherever Jews are in need.
After years of negotiations that began with the specific intent of dismantling Iran’s nuclear infrastructure so it would have no path to a nuclear weapon, the current agreement does not provide this ultimate goal. The deal will only manage and contain Iran’s nuclear capabilities. In addition, with the lifting of arms embargoes, Iran will have access to conventional and ballistic weapons after five and eight years respectively if the current agreement is implemented. This troubling concession to Iran underscores the inherent weaknesses in the agreement now before Congress.
We had hoped that the diplomatic efforts of the Obama Administration and the P5+1 would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, now and in the future. This deal, as proposed, gives Iran full nuclear threshold status in just 15 years or less. Unfortunately this deal does not meet key objectives that we are comfortable with, including: 1) shutting down Iran’s uranium enrichment pathway to a nuclear weapon 2) tracking Iran’s nuclear activities with unprecedented transparency and 3) robust inspections throughout its nuclear supply chain, including suspected nuclear sites.
We believed that phased sanctions relief should commence only after Iran complies with all of its commitments under the new accord, including calling on Iran to account for its past weaponization efforts. We now urge members of Congress to disapprove of the deal because we lack the confidence that Iran will meet its obligations specified in the agreement, including unfettered and unimpeded access to suspect nuclear sites.
We also remain concerned and troubled by Iran’s support for Hezbollah, for its propping up of the despotic regime in Syria, for its support of Houthi rebels in Yemen, for its tacit backing of Hamas, and for its human rights violations and its aggressive threats toward neighboring countries including Israel. The specter of a nuclear armed, or an enhanced conventionally armed Iran, is untenable. As long as Iran continues to call for Israel’s destruction and to pursue its terrorist activities and ambitions, Iran must be treated as the dangerous pariah state it has time and again proven itself to be.
This is a defining moment for America, for Israel and for the entire world. This is not a partisan issue – it is a moral issue which will have implications for our generation and for the generations that will follow us. For those who join with us in opposing this agreement, we urge you to contact your member of Congress and your senators and request that they vote against this deal.