New York Times, September 8

World Needs a Better Deal

Statement of the Friends of Israel Initiative asking U.S. Congress to reach better nuclear deal with Iran.

2015-09-08 by Friends of Israel Initiative

We, the undersigned, know from our many years of dealing with Iran that no nuclear agreement with a rogue regime can be perfect.

Yet, by any reasonable standard, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a bad deal. The JCPOA gives Iran too much while extracting too little. Iran will be allowed to retain its nuclear infrastructure intact, to modernize its facilities, to enrich enough uranium to advance in nuclear R&D, and, consequently to become a nuclear threshold state. Additionally, the JCPOA will constrain Iran nuclear activities for only 10 years at best. The weakness of the inspections and verification regime, which allows Iran to delay inspections of its nuclear sites for at least 24 days, underlines the profound challenge of policing a rogue regime that launched its nuclear program clandestinely.

In sum, the JCPOA doesn't solve the Iranian nuclear issue. Indeed, it makes the risk of a new conflict in the Middle East all the more likely, since the deal leaves Iran richer, stronger, and able to pursue its drive for regional domination.

Even though the JCPOA deals exclusively with the nuclear issue, we cannot simply ignore Iran’s malign activities. Iran is emerging as a major power, with its repressive regime strengthened and therefore without any incentive to improve its appalling human rights record or end its support for terrorism. That's why our key allies in the region, from Israel to Saudi Arabia, have voiced their deep concerns.

However, we are convinced that a better deal can be reached. After years of defiance, Iran came to the negotiating table because of the painful price inflicted by international sanctions. Iran will have no choice but to accept a tougher, robust agreement if the P5+1, led by U.S., maintains resolve.

The U.S. Congress has now a historical responsibility over a deal that will have profound and long-lasting implications for the Middle East and in the entire world.

That is why we urge the U.S. Congress to reject the agreement in its present form, encouraging, instead, the Administration to return to the negotiating table and reach a deal that keeps the United States, our allies and future generations safe from the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon.