Spotlight on Iran

JCPA Statement on Iran Framework Agreement

by JCPA

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 Statement on Iran Framework Agreement

After listening to President Obama’s remarks on the recently announced framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, the JCPA reiterates its support for the earnest efforts of the Administration to find a diplomatic solution to the issue of Iran's nuclear ambitions. We recognize the hard work and perseverance of the P5 + 1 representatives that participated in negotiations leading to this stage and appreciate the complex issues of regional and national security that it raises.  There are many details that must be addressed before a final agreement can be signed, and the JCPA is eager to begin a careful review of this agreement. We take this review process with the utmost seriousness.

Susan W. Turnbull, Chair of the JCPA, and Rabbi Steve Gutow, JCPA President, released the following statement:

‘The JCPA has long considered the prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons to be a matter of the gravest concern and utmost urgency. Such a development would threaten our allies in the region, including Israel, pose a danger to U.S. national security, and threaten countless human lives. As we work toward a final status agreement, we wish to stress the importance of the details of a few of the most salient provisions in the framework agreement discussed by the President.

We consistently have urged the Administration to negotiate an agreement that would prevent Iran from achieving nuclear breakout capacity within a short time frame. This means significant limitations on the amount of stockpiled uranium allowed to remain in Iran, the number and sophistication of working centrifuges, and their total permitted output.

We believe there needs to be a stringent and intrusive inspections program of all facilities that will enable monitoring agencies to verify strict Iranian compliance with the terms of an agreement. There also must be immediate and severe consequences should Iran breach the agreement, including the immediate imposition of amplified economic sanctions.

Finally, we call for the maximum possible transparency regarding the agreement. In particular, we are eager to learn the specifics of President Obama’s commitment to appropriate Congressional review of the agreement. Although there are strong and passionate views on all sides regarding this agreement, we believe both the American President and the Israeli Prime Minister are committed to a peaceful resolution of the Iran issue. We urge civil discourse, reasoned debate, and a renewed commitment to work together in a bipartisan fashion toward our shared goal of alleviating the threat of a nuclear armed Iran.

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Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Iran

by JCPA

Iranian press week in review

Hanif Zarrabi-Kashani | April 4, 2015 8:49am

Nuclear Negotiations 

Fars News quoted Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani during Friday prayers in Tehran as saying, “The recent statement out of Lausanne is essentially a general framework, without detail; the details will be discussed later.” Kashani added, “In the beginning they (P5+1) did not accept the lifting of sanctions, but they [eventually] agreed; of course how the sanctions will be lifted depends on the negotiations and final agreement.” Kashani also thanked Iran’s negotiators for their efforts.    

Mehr News reported that President Hassan Rouhani stated, “Based on the framework [agreement], all financial, banking, and economic sanctions will be lifted.”  

Speaking before the Friday prayer sermon in Tehran, ISNA quoted Mohammad Nahavandian, President Rouhani’s chief of staff as saying, “We’ve advanced and reached a stage where no one will speak to Iran using the language of sanctions.” 

According to Fars News, Ismail Kowsari, a member of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said, “Iran’s Foreign Ministry needs to resolve the issue regarding the translation of the joint [Iran-European Union] statement and publish the correct [version].” 

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Washington Institute: Rocky Road to a Nuclear Deal

by Steven Ditto

Differing approaches to Iran's nuclear program do not bode well for Israel in 2014.

Israel begins 2014 facing a truly Dickensian moment -- enjoying the best of times while staring at the worst of times.

Since Jewish DNA tends to accentuate the negative, let's first focus on the positive: the amazing resilience Israel has shown in the face of global economic adversity and the remarkable calm with which Israel has faced the regional chaos swirling around it.

First, the economy: If your early memories of Israel, like mine, included exasperating trips to Soviet-style banks to buy just enough shekels to get through the night, fearing the investment would lose half its value by sunrise, it is mind-boggling to think that Israel today has one of the strongest currencies in the world. That is a reflection of Israel's economic miracle. As former ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren was fond of recalling, this miracle extends to such feats of technological and entrepreneurial chutzpah as exporting wine to France and caviar to Russia. Last summer, Israel achieved the highest cultural status in Western civilization when an Israeli brand of hummus was named the official dip of the National Football League.

Second, stability. Israel didn't completely escape the street protests that have engulfed the Middle East and much of the rest of the world over the past two years. Tens of thousands have camped out in Israeli cities, too. But there is a real difference: Protests that were about fundamental issues of life, death and freedom in Cairo, Aleppo, Tunis and Kiev were, in Israel, about real estate prices and the high cost of cottage cheese.

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Will Israel and the U.S. Break Up over Iran?

by Robert Satloff

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy 

Differing approaches to Iran's nuclear program do not bode well for Israel in 2014.

Israel begins 2014 facing a truly Dickensian moment -- enjoying the best of times while staring at the worst of times.

Since Jewish DNA tends to accentuate the negative, let's first focus on the positive: the amazing resilience Israel has shown in the face of global economic adversity and the remarkable calm with which Israel has faced the regional chaos swirling around it.

First, the economy: If your early memories of Israel, like mine, included exasperating trips to Soviet-style banks to buy just enough shekels to get through the night, fearing the investment would lose half its value by sunrise, it is mind-boggling to think that Israel today has one of the strongest currencies in the world. That is a reflection of Israel's economic miracle. As former ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren was fond of recalling, this miracle extends to such feats of technological and entrepreneurial chutzpah as exporting wine to France and caviar to Russia. Last summer, Israel achieved the highest cultural status in Western civilization when an Israeli brand of hummus was named the official dip of the National Football League.

Second, stability. Israel didn't completely escape the street protests that have engulfed the Middle East and much of the rest of the world over the past two years. Tens of thousands have camped out in Israeli cities, too. But there is a real difference: Protests that were about fundamental issues of life, death and freedom in Cairo, Aleppo, Tunis and Kiev were, in Israel, about real estate prices and the high cost of cottage cheese.

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The New York Times (Opinion): Bibi and Barack, The Sequel

by Thomas L. Friedman

Could Bibi Netanyahu and Barack Obama share the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize?

The thought sounds ludicrous on its face, I know. The two do not like each other and have radically different worldviews. But as much as they keep trying to get away from each other, the cunning of history keeps throwing them back together, intertwining their fates. That will be particularly true in the next six months when the U.S.-led negotiations to defuse Iran’s nuclear bomb-making capabilities and the U.S.-led negotiations to reach a final peace between Israelis and Palestinians both come to a head at the same time. If these two leaders were to approach these two negotiations with a reasonably shared vision (and push each other), they could play a huge role in remaking the Middle East for the better, and — with John Kerry — deserve the Nobel Prize, an Emmy, an Oscar and the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

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The Washington Post: Why is the U.S. okay with Israel having nuclear weapons but not Iran?

by Max Fisher

Kissinger and Shultz: What a Final Iran Deal Must Do

by Henry Kissinger

The Wall Street Journal - Opinions and Analysis

December 2, 2013

Henry Kissinger & George Schultz in WSJ: "As former secretaries of state, we have confronted the existential issue of nuclear weapons and negotiated with adversaries in attempts to reduce nuclear perils. We sympathize with the current administration's quest to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff through diplomacy. We write this article to outline the options as we see them emerging from the interim agreement for a policy based on the principle of 'trust and verify.' ... For 35 years and continuing today, Iran has been advocating an anti-Western concept of world order, waging proxy wars against America and its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and beyond, and arming and training sectarian extremists throughout the Muslim world. During that time, Iran has defied unambiguous U.N. and IAEA demands and proceeded with a major nuclear effort, incompatible with any exclusively civilian purpose, and in violation of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty in effect since 1970. If the ruling group in Iran is genuinely prepared to enter into cooperative relations with the United States and the rest of the world, the U.S. should welcome and encourage that shift. But progress should be judged by a change of program, not of tone. The heart of the problem is Iran's construction of a massive nuclear infrastructure and stockpile of enriched uranium far out of proportion to any plausible civilian energy-production rationale. Iran amassed the majority of this capacity-including 19,000 centrifuges, more than seven tons of 3.5%- to 5%-enriched uranium, a smaller stock (about 196 kilograms) of 20%-enriched uranium, and a partly built heavy-water reactor that will be capable of producing plutonium-in direct violation of IAEA and Security Council resolutions... The record of this decade-plus negotiating effort combines steadily advancing Iranian nuclear capabilities with gradually receding international demands... The interim agreement reached on Nov. 24, though described by all sides as temporary, thus represents a crucial test of whether the seemingly inexorable progress to an Iranian military nuclear capability can be reversed... Until now, the U.N. resolutions and IAEA directives have demanded an immediate halt to all activities related to uranium enrichment and plutonium production, and unconditional compliance with an IAEA inspections regime as a matter of right. Under the interim agreement, Iranian conduct that was previously condemned as illegal and illegitimate has effectively been recognized as a baseline, including an acceptance of Iran's continued enrichment of uranium (to 5%) during the agreement period. And that baseline program is of strategic significance. For Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium is coupled with an infrastructure sufficient to enrich it within a few months to weapons-grade, as well as a plausible route to producing weapons-grade plutonium in the installation now being built at Arak. Not surprisingly, the Iranian negotiator, upon his return to Tehran, described the agreement as giving Iran its long-claimed right to enrich and, in effect, eliminating the American threat of using force as a last resort. In these circumstances, the major American negotiating leverage-the threatened reimposition and strengthening of sanctions-risks losing its edge. For individuals, companies and countries (including some allied countries), the loss of business with Iran has been economically significant. Most will be less vigilant about enforcing or abiding by sanctions that are the subject of negotiations and that seem to be 'on the way out.' This risk will be enhanced if the impression takes hold that the U.S. has already decided to reorient its Middle East policy toward rapprochement with Iran. The temptation will be to move first, to avoid being the last party to restore or build trade, investment and political ties. Therefore, too, the proposition that a series of interim agreements balancing nuclear constraints against tranches of sanctions relief is almost certainly impractical. Another tranche would spell the end of the sanctions regime. It will need to be part of a final agreement... The danger of the present dynamic is that it threatens the outcome of Iran as a threshold nuclear weapons state. If the six-month 'freeze' period secured in Geneva is to be something other than a tactical pause on Iran's march toward a military nuclear capability, Iran's technical ability to construct a nuclear weapon must be meaningfully curtailed in the next stipulated negotiation through a strategically significant reduction in the number of centrifuges, restrictions on its installation of advanced centrifuges, and a foreclosure of its route toward a plutonium-production capability. Activity must be limited to a plausible civilian program subject to comprehensive monitoring as required by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Any final deal must ensure the world's ability to detect a move toward a nuclear breakout, lengthen the world's time to react, and underscore its determination to do so. The preservation of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime and the avoidance of a Middle East nuclear-arms race hang in the balance... The next six months of diplomacy will be decisive in determining whether the Geneva agreement opens the door to a potential diplomatic breakthrough or to ratifying a major strategic setback. We should be open to the possibility of pursing an agenda of long-term cooperation. But not without Iran dismantling or mothballing a strategically significant portion of its nuclear infrastructure

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The New Republic: Iran's Nuclear Program Is Still Growing, and America's Fist Is Shrinking

by Dr. Robert Satloff


Israel may feel compelled to act if the Obama administration does not follow the Geneva deal with robust implementation, strict sanctions enforcement, and speedy negotiation of an even stronger final arrangement with Iran.

The blockbuster nuclear deal reached early Sunday morning in Geneva between Iran and the U.S.-led coalition is both less and more consequential than early reports suggest. And there is a good chance that its real value -- whether it prevents Iran's nuclear ambitions or inadvertently opens the door to an Iranian bomb -- may not be known until President Barack Obama turns into the home stretch for his second term, after the 2014 midterms.

The deal's major achievement doesn't match many of the breathless newspaper accounts written on tight deadlines since the Geneva breakthrough. "Major Powers Reach Deal with Iran to Freeze Nuclear Program," ran a headline in the Wall Street Journal; "Accord Reached with Iran to Halt Nuclear Program," proclaimed the New York Times; "Deal Freezes Iranian Nuclear Program for 6 Months," declared the Boston Globe. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Journalists and headline writers who characterized Geneva as a "freeze" or "halt" of Iran's nuclear program have a strange definition of these words. When Jack Lord or Telly Savalas caught up with a bad guy, pulled a revolver and yelled "freeze" or "halt," the culprit wasn't being told to "keep moving, just more slowly"; he was being told to stop -- or else. Geneva, however, does not stop Iran's nuclear program. Under the agreement, thousands of centrifuges -- including many of the advanced IR-2 version -- will continue to spin and produce enriched uranium, though within defined limits. Among the many moving parts of Iran's complex, multifaceted program, the term "freeze" applies to two components -- the accumulation of 20 percent enriched uranium (which will be converted into another form) and the nuclear-related progress of the Arak heavy-water reactor project. Both achievements are substantial and important but the program itself is not, by any stretch, frozen.

To their credit, both Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry never made such extravagant claims. Instead, in their separate remarks announcing the deal, they characterized the main achievement of Geneva as "limiting progress" or "impeding progress" of Iran's nuclear program. From the outset, they admitted that even with this deal, Iran's nuclear program will continue to grow and develop, just more slowly and under much more intrusive inspections than before.

If the deal's major success is less consequential than many portray it, few commentators have focused on what may be its most consequential aspect -- an apparent promise that, at the end of the process, Iran may eventually be able to enrich as much uranium as it wants, to whatever level it wants. That emerges from language buried in the paragraphs of the Joint Plan of Action, the formal name of the Geneva deal, that concern the parameters of a final agreement that is supposed to be negotiated over the next six months. The specific terms state, "The final step of a comprehensive solution...would involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with mutually agreed parameters consistent with practical needs, with agreed limits on scope and level of enrichment activities, capacity, where it is carried out, and stocks of enriched uranium, for a period to be agreed upon."

There appear to be two huge elements in this sentence: that Washington and its partners are on record now agreeing that the final accord will allow Iran to enrich uranium, putting the last nail in the coffin of six United Nations Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to suspend its enrichment activities, even temporarily; and that any limitations the final agreement may impose will not be final at all but only for "a period to be agreed upon." This paragraph trumps the faux argument over whether Iran has a "right to enrich"; in practice, it could have an international stamp of approval to enrich. In this, this paragraph could be read as saying that if Iran acts like a Boy Scout long enough -- one expects the "agreed period" to be measured in years, not months -- Iran's ayatollahs may receive formal international blessing for nuclear activities that, for a long time, have flouted the will of the international community.

Taking the long view, therefore, the final deal contains a potentially huge payoff for Iran. Kicking the problem down the road -- usually phrased more diplomatically as "stretching Iran's potential breakout time" -- is a key element of the Obama administration's approach. And from two other overlooked lines in the Geneva deal, there is a real possibility that the two sides won't reach agreement on the actual terms of that final deal until after the midterms in November 2014.

Most news stories cite Obama and Kerry as saying Geneva is a six-month arrangement. However, the text of the agreement notes that the deal is "renewable by mutual consent." And lest that line is viewed as a throwaway to placate Tehran, the text specifically notes that the parties "aim to conclude negotiating and commence implementing" the final agreement "no more than one year after the adoption of this document." In other words, negotiators did not agree on a hard deadline to reaching agreement on the final deal, approving just an aspirational goal that it will be achieved a year from now. The administration probably welcomed this additional wiggle room to avoid a situation in which negotiations are deadlocked and it is cornered into admitting that the diplomacy had failed, forcing the White House to consider unattractive alternatives.

On the surface, it stands to reason that Iran has an interest in getting a final deal as quickly as possible. After all, the most punishing economic sanctions remain in place under the "first step" deal and Obama promised renewed vigilance in sanctions enforcement when he announced the Geneva accord. But with the signing of this deal, the perception of leverage will begin to tilt away from Washington and toward Iran, which may want to see how this deal improves its regional standing before it heads into talks for a final agreement.

When viewed in combination with the outcome of the Syria chemical weapons episode, for example, there is little doubt that America's threat of force has lost much of its credibility. The most Geneva portends for Iranian violation is the end of sanctions relief and perhaps additional sanctions; though Obama made a passing reference to his role as commander-in-chief in his weekend remarks, he quickly followed that he has "a profound responsibility to try to resolve our differences peacefully, rather than rush towards conflict."

This will have an effect in two ways. First, countries around the world that followed Washington's lead on sanctions as an alternative to having the crazy Americans bomb Iran may now restrain their enthusiasm for obeying rules that cost them billions of dollars. And second, regional powers that deferred to the Obama administration's strategy for dealing with the Iran problem may begin to take matters into their own hands.

With Saudi Arabia likely to take its own defensive measures, in terms of deepening its nuclear partnership with Pakistan, all eyes are on Israel. Kerry bluntly said the Geneva deal "will make our ally Israel safer," but Israel's prime minister begged to differ. Instead, Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the Geneva deal as an "historic mistake" to which Israel is not bound. The U.S.-Israel rupture that burst into the open in early November is now routinized; as long as the Geneva deal is in force, a cold war between Washington and Jerusalem will be a permanent feature of a relationship that, until a few weeks ago, was celebrated for its unprecedented closeness.

The key question is whether Netanyahu is so incensed that he will turn the cold war hot by sending Israel's F-16s to do what Obama decided not to do -- derail Iran's nuclear program by force. While Israel has twice before bombed Arab nuclear sites -- in Iraq in 1981; in Syria in 2007 -- such a move would, in effect, not just blow up Iran's nuclear facilities but also Obama's most noteworthy diplomatic achievement. When the dust clears, no one can know for certain whether the U.S.-Israel relationship will still be intact.

Against this background, the chances that Israel acts militarily against Iran over the next six months are, for all practical purposes, nil. The political risks are just too great. Instead, Israel is likely to focus its efforts on urging friends on Capitol Hill to approve legislative measures that clarify and tighten aspects of the Geneva deal -- additional sanctions that only go into effect in the event Tehran violates the terms of the agreement, and limitations on the administration's ability to extend the period of the deal beyond its original six-month term. Some legislators will also try to exploit a loophole in the Geneva deal to expand non-nuclear sanctions, focusing on Iran's continued support of terrorism and worsening human rights record. The administration can be expected to oppose all these measures as contrary to the spirit of good faith promised in the Geneva text. A fight is coming.

But if no final agreement is reached within six months and the administration opts to extend the "first step" deal beyond its initial term, all bets are off. Israel may take that as a sign that the temporary is becoming permanent, a common Middle East occurrence, and consider itself free from the constraint of acting against a strategic partner. If Netanyahu regrets that he didn't act against Iran's nuclear program during the 2012 election season, as many commentators suggest, a decision to renew the first-step deal may give him another chance to act in the 2014 election cycle.

Hopefully, such speculation will amount to no more than a bad dream. But that will require the Obama administration to follow on the most important achievements of the Geneva deal with robust implementation, strict sanctions enforcement, and speedy, time-limited negotiation for an even stronger, tighter, firmer final arrangement with Iran. In other words, the really tough part is yet to come.

Robert Satloff is executive director of The Washington Institute.

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Tehran To Decide Who Can Run For President

by JCPA

Mehdi Khalaji

May 7, 2013

As the regime narrows the list of approved candidates for the upcoming presidential election, Washington should criticize Tehran for limiting who is permitted to run.

On May 12, Iran's Guardian Council will begin deliberations on which candidates can participate in the June presidential election, perhaps the most important step in selecting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's successor. The uncertainty regarding the outcome, coupled with the regime's repeated claims that nuclear sanctions are intended to hurt the people, gives Washington ample room to criticize the highly controlled electoral process and call for a more open and democratic Iran.

BACKGROUND

To be considered for this year's election, all presidential aspirants must file by May 11. The Guardian Council -- a powerful body with twelve members, six of whom are directly appointed by the Supreme Leader -- then decides which candidates are permitted to run based on its subjective judgment of their qualifications. The results of that process will be announced on May 16. Those disqualified can ask the council to reconsider; any such appeals would be decided by May 23.

On June 14, elections will be held for president, municipal council seats, and two vacant seats in the Assembly of Experts, which selects a new Supreme Leader if Ali Khamenei dies. Holding major elections simultaneously helps the regime keep costs down while exploiting the people's interest in local politics to raise turnout for the presidential vote. Hundreds of thousands of candidates have already registered for the municipal elections; here too, the Guardian Council determines who is qualified to run. Simultaneous elections also decrease the chances of a boycott -- reformists and technocrats have applied to run at all levels, so they would have difficulty asking voters to stay home on election day if the Guardian Council disqualifies their presidential candidates but approves their local candidates.

Past presidential elections have frequently produced surprising results, and no one is sure how this one will turn out -- at least in terms of which conservative will prevail. If no candidate wins a majority on June 14, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be held on June 21.


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The Thin Red Line: Is Iran Outmaneuvering the U.S. and Israel?

by JCPA

David Makovsky and Gabrielle Tudin Haaretz
April 24, 2013

Now that Iran is capable of circumventing the nuclear weapons red line, the new U.S. and Israeli defense ministers must coordinate closely to avoid being further outflanked.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who recently made his first trip to Israel in his new post, has thus far avoided publicly using the phrase that had dominated U.S.-Israel relations in the second half of 2012: "Red line."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attracted world attention when he drew an actual red line on an image of a bomb at the United Nations last September. His speech suggested that the issue should be relegated to this spring, the point at which Iran would ostensibly have accumulated one bomb's worth of 20 percent enriched uranium, and could then dash within 30-40 days from reactor-grade to weapons-grade fuel if it chose to "break-out."

Since then, a series of other events have overshadowed the red line issue, including the U.S. election, the Israeli election, and President Obama's Israel visit. Beyond these specific events, there has been a development related to the Iranian nuclear program in the last few months that has given Israel an optimistic ray of hope.

For the first time last fall, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's nuclear program showed a dip in the amount of 20 percent enriched uranium -- a change from the steady increase in higher enrichment levels found in previous reports. Presumably, Iran had made the decision to divert some enriched uranium away from its nuclear program.

In the eyes of one senior Israeli official, this signaled that Iran had "internalized our red line," boosting some fragile hope that the nuclear issue could be resolved diplomatically. Many Israelis felt vindicated by Netanyahu putting forward his red line at the UN

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Debating Next Steps on Iran

by JCPA

Michael Singh
Foreign Policy
April 22, 2013

Changing Tehran's strategic calculus requires a firm set of nuclear red lines, a more credible U.S. military threat, and, most important, greater involvement in Syria.

The failure of the latest round of negotiations over Iran's nuclear program will likely bring calls for changes in the American approach -- for bilateral engagement, for an "endgame proposal," or even for reconsideration of the merits of "containment" of a nuclearweapons- capable Iran. One such proposal -- focusing on strengthening the U.S.

"diplomatic track" with Iran -- was put forward recently by The Iran Project, a group of distinguished former U.S. officials.

There is much in the report with which I agree. In particular, the report is correct to observe that neither sanctions nor engagement alone will accomplish U.S. aims and that a combination of policy tools will be required. It is also right to begin with an assessment of U.S. and Iranian interests and objectives, which should be the starting point for any successful policy.

However, I would differ with the report on four vital issues and thus reach different conclusions regarding the way forward on Iran policy.

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UANI launched a Times Square billboard to coincide with President Ahmadinejad's visit to New York for the UN General Assembly

http://www.unitedagainstnucleariran.com/sites/default/themes/uaniwide/images/uani_ts_billboard.png

The billboard, located at the corner of 49th Street and 7th Avenue in Times Square, has a picture of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the New York City skyline and reads "SHOULD NOT BE IN N.Y.: SHOULD NOT BE IN THE UN: VISIT UANI.COM" 

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67th United Nations General Assembly: Israeli President Netanyahu's speech

PRESIDENT NETANYAHU: It’s a pleasure to see the General Assembly presided by the Ambassador from Israel, and it’s good to see all of you, distinguished delegates.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Three thousand years ago, King David reigned over the Jewish state in our eternal capital, Jerusalem. I say that to all those who proclaim that the Jewish state has no roots in our region and that it will soon disappear.

Throughout our history, the Jewish people have overcome all the tyrants who have sought our destruction. It’s their ideologies that have been discarded by history.

The people of Israel live on. We say in Hebrew Am Yisrael Chai, and the Jewish state will live forever.

The Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for thousands of years. Even after most of our people were exiled from it, Jews continued to live in the land of Israel throughout the ages. The masses of our people never gave up the dreamed of returning to our ancient homeland.

Defying the laws of history, we did just that. We ingathered the exiles, restored our independence and rebuilt our national life. The Jewish people have come home.

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67th United Nations General Assembly: Iranian President Ahmadinejad's speech

Remarks by President Ahmadinejad at UN General Assembly

September 27th 2012

New York, NY

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful All Praise Belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and May Peace and Blessings be upon the Greatest and Trustworthy Prophet and His Pure Progeny, His Chosen Companions, and upon all Divine Messengers.

Oh, God, Hasten the Emergence of Your Chosen Beloved, Grant Him Good Health and Victory, Make us His Best Companions, and all those who attest to His Rightfulness.

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the Almighty God for having once more the chance to participate in this meeting. We have gathered here to ponder and work together for building a better life for the entire human community and for our nations.

Coming from Iran, the land of glory and beauty, the land of knowledge, culture, wisdom and morality, the cradle of philosophy and mysticism, the land of compassion and light, the land of scientists, scholars, philosophers, masters of literature, and writers, the land of Avicenna, Ferdowsi, Hafiz, Maulana, Attar, Khayyam, and Shariar, I represent a great and proud nation that is a founder of human civilization and an inheritor of respected universal values. I represent a conscious nation which is dedicated to the cause of freedom, peace and compassion, a nation that has experienced the agony and bitter times of aggressions and imposed wars, and profoundly values the blessings of peace and stability. I am now here for the eighth time in the eighth year of my service to my noble people in this august assembly of sisters and brothers from across the world, to show to the world that my noble nation like its brilliant past, has a global vision and welcomes any effort intended to provide and promote peace, stability and tranquility which can be only realized through harmony, cooperation and joint management of the world.

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67th United Nations General Assembly: United States President Obama's speech

Remarks by the President to the UN General Assembly

United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York 

10:22 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentleman:  I would like to begin today by telling you about an American named Chris Stevens.

Chris was born in a town called Grass Valley, California, the son of a lawyer and a musician.  As a young man, Chris joined the Peace Corps, and taught English in Morocco.  And he came to love and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East. He would carry that commitment throughout his life.  As a diplomat, he worked from Egypt to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Libya.  He was known for walking the streets of the cities where he worked -- tasting the local food, meeting as many people as he could, speaking Arabic, listening with a broad smile. 

Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship.  As America’s representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for the future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. And after the revolution, he supported the birth of a new democracy, as Libyans held elections, and built new institutions, and began to move forward after decades of dictatorship.

Chris Stevens loved his work.  He took pride in the country he served, and he saw dignity in the people that he met.  And two weeks ago, he traveled to Benghazi to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital.  That’s when America’s compound came under attack.  Along with three of his colleagues, Chris was killed in the city that he helped to save. He was 52 years old.

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Time to give Ahmadinejad hell

Seize the UN General Assembly as an opportunity to protest his record on human rights

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran addresses at the UN General Assembly in 2007.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran addresses at the UN General Assembly in 2007.

Among the tyrants and thugs who venture every year to the UN General Assembly, which began Tuesday here in New York, is the autocratic and anti-Semitic president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who always uses the event to spread hateful ideas and insane conspiracy theories.

Last week, Ahmadinejad’s regime released the courageous Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who had spent nearly three years in prison after having been convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death in 2010 . Don’t be fooled, though: The timely release of innocents is a time-honored regime public relations tactic, particularly in the run-up to the General Assembly.

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Support Iran180's Campaign 'Countering Ahmadinejad 2012: Most #UNwelcome'

You can help Iran180 let Iranian President Ahmadinejad know that he is NOT WELCOME to New York for the UN General Assembly. To find out how, please read Chris DeVito's , Director of Outreach, following message:

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Netanyahu: Without ultimatum, U.S. has no ‘moral right’ to stop Israel from attacking Iran

By

JERUSALEM — Signaling a deepening dispute with Washington over issuing ultimatums for Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that those who won’t make such demands on Tehran “don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”

In a blistering response to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s statement that the United States is “not setting deadlines” for Iran and that negotiations coupled with sanctions are the best approach, Netanyahu said that if no “red line” is established for Iran, it will continue pursuing an atomic bomb.

“The sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy, but they haven’t stopped the Iranian nuclear program. That’s a fact,” Netanyahu said at a news conference with the visiting Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

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Ban Ki Moon in Iran for Nonaligned Movement's annual meeting: Meeting with top Iranian leaders

TEHRAN — Making his first visit to Iran as United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon met face-to-face with four members of Iran’s hierarchy on Wednesday, including the supreme leader, sessions that Mr. Ban’s spokesman described as “very serious meetings” that addressed his concerns about the disputed Iranian nuclear program, the Syria conflict, human rights problems in Iran and what he called its objectionable comments about Israel.

Iran’s state news media, which have described Mr. Ban’s visit as a repudiation of American and Israeli efforts to isolate Iran, also reported on the meetings but framed them differently, focusing on Mr. Ban’s gratitude for the invitation, their shared goal of resolving the Syrian conflict and Iran’s complaints about big-power meddling in Syria — a reference to efforts by the United States and its allies to topple President Bashar al-Assad, a strategic ally of Iran.

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7 Reasons Why Israel Should Not Attack Iran's Nuclear Facilities

by Jeffrey Goldberg

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Israeli officials may see a "zero hour" for attacking Iranian nuclear facilities, but it could backfire.

israel attacks post aug12.jpg

Israeli Air Force jets fly in a military exercise. (Reuters)

On his Twitter feed,

Oren Kessler

reports that news analysts on Israel's Channel 2 are in agreement that an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities seems to be imminent. Ari Shavit, of Haaretz, is reporting that an unnamed senior Israeli security official he interviewed who is identified in a headline as "the decision-maker" (If you guess Ehud Barak, the defense minister, you would not be wrong)

is arguing that the zero-hour is approaching

for an Israeli decision:

"If Israel forgoes the chance to act and it becomes clear that it no longer has the power to act, the likelihood of an American action will decrease. So we cannot wait a year to find out who was right: the one who said that the likelihood of an American action is high or the one who said the likelihood of an American action is low."

Aluf Benn, the editor of Haaretz,

writes that the world seems to have accepted the idea

that Israel will soon strike Iran: "All the signs show that the 'international community,' meaning the western powers and the U.S. in the lead, seem to have reconciled themselves with Israel's talk of a military strike - and now they are pushing Netanyahu to stand by his rhetoric and send his bombers to their targets in Iran. In general terms, the market has already accounted for the Israeli strike in its assessment of the risk of the undertaking, and it is now waiting for the expectation to be realized."

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Stop Iran at all costs

by Benny Morris

By Prof. Benny Moris

Israel's reasons for a future strike on Iran's nuclear facilities are logical and clear: Iran armed with nuclear weapons threatens Israel's existence; the weapons can fall into the hands of terrorists; and it will undoubtedly ignite an arms race in the Middle East that could end in nuclear war. In light of these threats an Israeli government that chooses to sit by and do nothing will have betrayed its public.

Without Chinese, Russian, Indian and Turkish participation in imposing severe economic sanctions against Iran only the pre-emptive aerial strike remains — it does not seem the Obama administration will do this before presidential elections in November, and probably not after either. This leaves Israel alone in the picture.

Israel has another reason, one of immense weight, to take action to destroy Iran's nuclear program: a contentious past with Iran and its implications for the future. For three decades no country, including Israel, has succeeded in deterring Iran from advancing toward its strategic goals, which include regional hegemony and leading the Islamist camp in its struggle against the West in general, and against Israel in particular.

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A grave warning on Iran from 'the decision maker'

by Ari Shavit

In the latest in a special series, a key figure in the security establishment tells Haaretz's Ari Shavit that if Iran is allowed to develop an atomic bomb, the entire Middle East will go nuclear.


The decision maker is a controversial person. There was a time when he was regarded as a savior, but right afterward he was seen as a pariah. And again as a near-savior and again as a pariah. But even those who loathe the decision maker admits that he is exceptionally intelligent. Even his detractors are aware that he possesses unique strategic experience.

For half a century now, the decision maker has been hovering around Israel’s core security issues. And on a number of occasions, he himself was at the core. Late one night at the beginning of this week, the decision maker greets me at the door of his home wearing light summer clothes and black sandals

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Iran and the Human Rights Opening

Mehdi Khalaji

Also available in فارسی

Wall Street Journal

August 8, 2012

Action on Iran's domestic brutality can prevent the Islamic Republic from labeling sanctions as something they are not intended to be: an attack on the Iranian public.

With tensions mounting over Iran's nuclear program, the West has dealt the Tehran regime crippling blows on several fronts, including through sanctions, the targeted killing of scientists, and cyber operations such as the Stuxnet virus. Tehran is no doubt reeling, but regime leaders have spotted a silver lining: The West's single-minded focus on the nuclear dossier has permitted them to widen their violations of human rights.

Indeed, since the protests that followed the 2009 election, Iran's human-rights abuses have worsened substantially -- a development that has gone largely unnoticed in the U.S. and Europe. This is a tragedy with profound strategic implications for the West.

The Iranian legal system allows numerous human-rights violations, including discrimination against women and ethno-sectarian minorities, and the imposition of brutal penal sentences, such as stoning. Tehran's ruling theocrats view human rights as a Western invention used to undermine Islamic culture and sovereignty as part of what Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei considers a soft war against Iran. They therefore do not believe themselves duty-bound to uphold their basic human-rights obligations, including those under international agreements to which they are party.

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Fasten Your Seat Belt: Diplomacy's Believe it Or Not

By David Harris, Executive Director of AJC

Huffington Post

This falls in the category of "You've got to be kidding!"

I'm not.

On Aug. 26, Iran will assume, for the next three years, the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at a summit in Tehran.

None other than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will preside.

Founded five decades ago at the height of the Cold War with a markedly anti-Western tilt, NAM today has 120 member countries and 17 observer states. It includes nearly two-thirds of the UN's member states, including many African, Asian, and Latin American nations.

As NAM has no permanent secretariat, responsibility for its activities rests with the Chair. Iran, seeing a unique chance for itself, is going flat-out.

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Reach out to members of Congress: Increase Sanctions on Iran

Today, President Obama signed a new Executive Order which tightens sanctions against Iran because of its failure to answer questions about its nuclear program.

Similarly, this week, U.S. House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement on new legislation to increase economic sanctions on Iran. The proposed bill, which is expected to be voted on sometime this week, would place harsher penalties on financial institutions doing business with Iran while further restricting Tehran's energy and shipping arenas in an effort to halt their suspected nuclear weapons program.

We urge you to take a moment and reach out to members of Congress, letting them know it is crucial that they pass this bill. Placing stricter sanctions on Iran is the only possible way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, which poses a threat to not only the Unites States and Israel, but the world as well. Take action and send this letter to your representative now, asking that they move this important bill forward before Congress adjourns for a month-long August recess
.

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Did Hezbollah Do It?

Did Hezbollah Do It?

by Matthew Levitt | July 18, 2012 6:00 PM EDT


Earlier today, on the 18th anniversary of the Hezbollah bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, a busload of Israeli tourists was bombed in Burgas, Bulgaria, a popular summer vacation destination among Israeli tourists. Early reports indicate several people were killed, and many more injured. Hezbollah is the leading suspect, and for good reason.

A similar plot targeting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria was thwarted in January, just weeks ahead of the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah operations chief Imad Mughniyeh, when a suspicious package was spotted on a bus carrying Israeli tourists from Turkey to Bulgaria. Israeli officials requested the Bulgarians provide enhanced security for buses carrying Israeli tourists, which they did. Additional security was reportedly put in place at the country’s premier ski resort as well. At the time, however, Israeli officials deemed airport security sufficient. That no longer appears to be the case.


Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, presents Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with the gun of an Israeli soldier during Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon October 14, 2010. (Hezbollah Media Office / Getty Images)

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Clinton: Israel and U.S. are on the 'same page' regarding Iran



July 16, 2012
Peace Talks Must Resume, Clinton Says in Israel Visit
By JODI RUDOREN

JERUSALEM — Visiting Israel for the first time in nearly two years, with the Palestinian peace process seemingly on perpetual hold, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that “the status quo is unsustainable” and urged leaders from both sides back to negotiations.

Mrs. Clinton said she had warned Israeli and Palestinian leaders against efforts in “international venues” — code for the Palestinians’ plans to seek elevated status from the United Nations — or “unilateral actions,” such as Israel’s annexing parts of the West Bank or withdrawing from others, essentially pre-defining the borders of a future Palestinian state.

“We remain focused on the resumption of direct negotiations, since we believe that is the only route to a lasting stable peace,” she said at a late-night news conference here after a 14-hour marathon of meetings. “To those who say the timing isn’t right, or the trust just isn’t there, I say peace won’t wait, and the responsibility is on all of us.”

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Ross: Time to shift gears on Iran negotiations

Ross: Time to shift gears on Iran negotiations
By HERB KEINON
21/06/2012

Roundtable DiscussionVeteran US Mideast expert tells 'Post' it is in Israel’s interest to apologize to Turkey, wants tougher Iran sanctions.

The six world powers negotiating with Iran should consider “pivoting” to a new, tougher strategy following the apparent failure of this week’s talks in Moscow, Dennis Ross told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.

Ross, who was involved in determining US policy on Iran under US President Barack Obama, among his many Middle East roles in the State Department and White House over the years, said that even before the inconclusive Moscow meetings he had felt it was time “for a pivot in the negotiations away from the step-by-step approach, and more to an endgame on the nuclear issue approach.”

The step-by-step approach that has governed the negotiations with Iran up until now would have each side giving something up to the other as part of confidence- building measures. The problem with that approach, Ross indicated, was that it was taking too much time without results, while Iran continued to move its program forward.

Now, Ross said, the time has come to clarify, “is there a deal here or not?” The “core issue,” he said, is whether Iran is “prepared to accept an outcome where it has a civil nuclear power capability, but the limitations imposed on them preclude that from being converted into a nuclear weapons capability.”

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Iran Nuclear Talks Fall Short

Washington Post Logo
Iran nuclear talks fall short
By Kathy Lally and Joby Warrick, Published: June 19

MOSCOW — Two long days of talks meant to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons ended Tuesday night short of either success or failure, and with the possibility of further negotiations very much in question.

A U.S. administration official said that after so many hours of tough exchanges, the parties need to talk to each other, parse what had been said, consult with their governments and determine whether there is a road ahead.

“I am very sober about what occurred here,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in line with the rules set for a news briefing.

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Iran's execution binge

Los Angeles Times Articles

Human rights abuses are increasing as Tehran's leaders use public executions to send a message to dissenters.

July 06, 2011|By Mark D. Wallace

Why not Iran?

Egypt and Tunisia have overthrown repressive regimes. Citizens in Syria, Yemen and other Middle East countries are demanding change. Yet in Iran, where a wave of 2009 demonstrations helped spark the movements we are now witnessing elsewhere in the Middle East, the populace is strangely silent.

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Iran Providing Support to Al-Qaeda

WASHINGTON — A Congressional panel released a report that alleges that Iran's elite Al-Quds force offers support to Al-Qaeda, adding a new dimension to the militant threat to the United States. Click here to read more.

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No Loopholes for Iran

After a New York Times report revealed loopholes in U.S. sanctions on Iran, the JCPA had the following to say:

December 24, 2010: No Loopholes for Iran

01:27 PM Dec 27, 2010

Jewish Group Urges Congress and Administration to Tighten Sanctions Exemptions

Loopholes are allowing thousands of transactions with Iran, undermining sanctions designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambition, said a leading American Jewish organization.  The Jewish Council for Public Affairs called for the Administration to work with the new Congress to ensure all licenses to do businesses in Iran are given the proper scrutiny and focused on strictly humanitarian or diplomatic concerns, not short-term business profits.

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New Round of Talks with Iran Begins

This week, Iran held its first talks with six world powers for the first time in over a year.  The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler describes the latest round of negotiations.

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U.N. General Assembly Is No Place for Hate

by JCPA

Press Release:

NEW YORK - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's address before the United Nations' General Assembly exuded arrogance and a general disregard for the truth, says a leading Jewish advocacy organization.
 
On Thursday, during his annual address before the United Nations' General Assembly, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stated, among other ludicrous notions, that the United States orchestrated the September 11th attacks as part of a general Zionist conspiracy.

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Support Iran Transparency and Accountability Act

by JCPA

Members of the House have introduced legislation that requires companies to declare publicly sanctionable investments in Iran in their quarterly and annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Iran Transparency and Accountability Act (ITA) of 2010 (H.R. 5833), sponsored by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), complements the recently passed Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA), which aims to penalize companies doing business in Iran.

Take action now.  Tell your member of Congress to cosponsor this critical legislation.

Take Action Now

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Iran Divestment by State as of August 2010

State-by-State Iran Divestment Legislation

Mandated by law:

•   Arizona – May 2008
•    California – October 2007
•    Florida – June 2007
•    Georgia – May 2008
•    Illinois – September 2008
•    Indiana – May 2009
•    Louisiana – July 2007
•    Maryland – May 2008
•    Massachusetts – August 2010
•    Minnesota – May 2009
•    Michigan - July 2008
•    Nevada – June 2008
•    New Jersey – January 2009
•    Pennsylvania – July 2010
•    South Dakota – March 2010
•    Utah – Marc 2009
•    Washington DC – March 2009

States that have adopted Iran divestment policies:


•    Colorado – January 2009: Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA) voted to divest itself of investments in companies that have invested at least $20 million in Iran's energy sector.
•    Missouri – June 2006: Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman ordered the Missouri Investment Trust to divest stock in companies that do business in Iran.
•    New York – November 2007:  New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli reviewed the state pension fund’s holdings in companies doing business with Iran’s energy and defense sectors with a view to prevent future investments in and divest from those companies that continue their work with the Islamic Republic.
•    Ohio – June 2007: Legislation (HB 151) was put in holding pattern and replaced with deal for very limited voluntary divestment from some companies in Iran's energy sector.
•    Texas – September 2008: Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter to officials of the ERS and the $111 billion Texas Teacher Retirement System, Austin, asking them to divest all stocks of companies doing business with Iran.
•    Washington State – March 2008: The Washington State Investment Board staff shall engage any company doing business with Iran’s energy sector, urging it to suspend or curtail such operations.

States that have divested public funds from Scrutinized Companies:

•    Florida ($1.8 billion)
•    Georgia ($575 million)
•    New York ($167 million)
•    Illinois ($112 million)
•    Missouri (approx $100 million)
•    South Dakota ($54 million)

States considering new Iran divestment legislation or policies in 2010:

•    California
•    Colorado
•    Mississippi
•    New York
•    Utah
•    Vermont
•    Virginia
•    Washington

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Iran Sanctions Signed into Law

by JCPA

WASHINGTON – The Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ Rabbi Steve Gutow, president, and Josh Protas, Washington director, were among a select group of Jewish leaders and dignitaries invited to the White House on Thursday as President Obama signed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act into law. 

JCPA is a leading advocate within the Jewish community for policies that prevent Iran from continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons and strongly endorsed the new sanctions President Obama signed into law this afternoon.

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U.S. Sanctions Against Iran to Become Law

by JCPA

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate today voted 99 to zero to strengthen existing sanctions against Iran and impose new ones aimed at its fuel supplies, sending a strong message that the United States is serious about preventing a nuclear armed Iran.  The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to also overwhelmingly approve the enhanced sanctions later this afternoon sending the bill to President Obama to be signed into law.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) applauds Senators for approving the conference report for the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act.  The legislation expands existing sanctions to cover a range of financial institutions and businesses, imposes a broad ban on direct imports from Iran to the United States and exports from the United States to Iran (exempting food and medicines), and directs the Obama administration to freeze the assets of Iranians, including Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, who are active in weapons proliferation and terrorism. The bill also provides a much-needed legal framework for governments and other investors to divest their portfolios of foreign companies involved in Iran's energy sector.

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JCPA Statement on the Passage of EU Sanctions Against Iran

To view the JCPA Statement on the Passage of EU Sanctions Against Iran, click here.

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JCPA's Statement on the Passage of Iran Sanctions by the UN Security Council

To view JCPA's statement on the passage of a fourth round of Sanctions against Iran by the United Nations Security Council, click here.

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National Jewish Leadership Advocacy Day on Iran

IAI co-sponsored the National Jewish Leadership Advocacy Day on Iran (September 10, 2009) in partnership with the National Inter-Agency Task Force on Iran, which includes the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Federations of North America, and NCSJ: Advocates on behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Eurasia.  Three hundred Jewish leaders, representing more than thirty CRCs and Federations, gathered in Washington, D.C. and met with approximately one hundred members of Congress, including Congressional leadership.  The goal was to urge implementation of strong economic and diplomatic measures directed at the Iranian regime and expeditious adoption of key legislative initiatives, including the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (IRPSA), which overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 15, 2009.  The Senate version, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act passed on January 28, 2009.  The IAI sent out numerous action alerts mobilizing support around the country for these pieces of legislation and sponsored national sign-on letters to thank Congressional leadership for their passage.

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Stand For Freedom in Iran RALLY - Elie Wiesel

by Eduardo Bialostozky
     
The IAI helped coordinate the “Stand for Freedom in Iran Day,” (September 24, 2009) in conjunction with the large rally in New York. Events took place in 14 communities across North America.  Thousands of activists joined together to express solidarity with the brave people of Iran who took to the streets in their struggle for greater freedom and human rights. The 14 communities in which the activities were held included: Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Rhode Island, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. Columbus, Charlotte, Denver, Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Pittsburgh.

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Iran Divestment Campaigns by State as of June 2010

by Eduardo Bialostozky

Click to see an updated list of states that have enacted Iran divestment legislation as of June 2010.

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Why Iran Divestment Matters

by Israel Advocacy Initiative, Iran

Supporting the 2009 Iran Sanctions Enabling Act

Iran is a Threat to the International Community

Iran has been repeatedly identified by the U.S. State Department as the chief state sponsor of international terrorism.  Iran continues to defy the international community by pushing ahead with its nuclear program in defiance of its nonproliferation obligations, and since December 2006, the UN Security Council has unanimously passed three Resolutions (No. 1737, 1747, and 1803) imposing sanctions on Iran for its failure to suspend uranium-enrichment activities. The risks of doing business with Iranian banks and other institutions have also been highlighted by the U.S., the European Union, and the Financial Action Task Force of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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Martin J. Raffel's Op-ed in JTA: Act To Stop A Nuclear Iran

by Israel Advocacy Initiative, Iran

Why hasn't prevention of a nuclear-armed Iran become a priority of the highest order for the American Jewish community, particularly at the grass roots? Many national agencies, including mine, have long urged more intense activism.

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Florida Legislature Continues Efforts to Divest State Funds

by Israel Advocacy Initiative, Iran

May 1, 2009

TALLAHASSEE, FL - Continuing to pave the way on divestment of state funds from rogue nations, the Florida Legislature on Friday passed a bill making it easier for Florida’s citizens to exercise economic pressure against terror-sponsoring states.  The bill, SB 538 sponsored by Senators Carey Baker (R-Eustis) and Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), requires fire and police pension funds to divest from Iran and Sudan and requires the State Board of Administration to provide a “terror-free” option for state employees participating in the State’s defined contribution retirement plan. 

 

In 2007, State Senator Ted Deutch sponsored the Protecting Florida’s Investments Act, making Florida the first state to divest its pension funds from companies engaging in business with Iran and Sudan.  Since its passage, Florida – which has the nation’s fourth largest pension fund - has divested over $1 billion from scrutinized companies.

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JCPA's 2007 Resolution on Iran's Nuclear Weapon Program

by Israel Advocacy Initiative, Iran

In 2005, the JCPA adopted a resolution urging the United States and the international community
to give a high priority to efforts aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons
capability. Indeed, the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons -- and developing missiles to
launch those weapons against countries throughout the region, Europe and possibly beyond --
should alarm every American and be unacceptable to the community of nations.

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Protecting Florida's Investment Act

by Israel Advocacy Initiative, Iran

On June 8, 2007 the Protecting Florida's Investment Act ("PFIA") was signed into law. The PFIA requires the State Board of Administration ("SBA"), acting on behalf of the Florida Retirement System Trust Fund (the "FRSTF"), to assemble and publish a list of "Scrutinized Companies" that have prohibited business operation in the Sudan and Iran.

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Martin J. Raffel's Op-Ed: Iran not just a Jewish problem - We must galvanize everyone

by Israel Advocacy Initiative, Iran

Why is the Jewish Council for Public Affairs making a nuclear-armed Iran its principal concern in the year to come?

Keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons is a goal that unites people of diverse races, ethnic backgrounds, nationalities and religions. Not only in the United States, but also in Germany, Great Britain, France, Russia and Japan, 82 percent to 97 percent of people polled expressed opposition to allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons, according to a June 2006 survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

Moderate Arab states, too, are extremely worried about the destabilizing influence of Iran's determination to develop nuclear weapons capability.

But for American Jews, it is the profound threat to Israel posed by a nuclear-armed Iran that is galvanizing a growing activism. Iran's support of terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, its role in supplying improvised explosive devises to insurgents in Iraq and the outrageous statements of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- including the assertion that Israel should be "wiped off the map" -- make the prospect of a nuclear Iran terrifying and intolerable.

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