As time goes on, the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability increases. Many observers believe that 2010 will be a crucial year in the effort to prevent this development. In 2009-2010, the IAI dramatically expanded its efforts to mobilize communities on the issue of Iran's nuclear weapons program.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
• 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:
• New York
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.