Is It A Good Deal?

Is the Iran Nuclear Agreement a good deal?

Truth be told, I’d have to say that I’m not sure. On the one hand, even with sanctions in place over a period of years and word that the Iranian economy was on the verge of collapse, they were still reportedly only a couple of months away from having enough nuclear fissile material to build a bomb. Even with tough sanctions in place, they were still able to build, and protect, complex sites where uranium was being enriched. So I’m inclined to think that any agreement that puts limits on Iran’s ability to develop its nuclear program is a win for those who fear what would happen if they actually had an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

True, the inspection protocol agreed to seems weak and insufficient, despite claims that it’s “airtight.” And I fail to understand why there is a sunset clause on the agreement. As one observer put it, all the Iranians have to do in order to acquire a nuclear weapon is to be patient. The answer some have given to that quandary, that 10-15 years is at least something, seems quite lacking to me.

On the other hand, it seems that the agreement lets a wild animal out of its cage and makes it stronger. The agreement completely overlooks the fact that Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and that the lifting of sanctions will accomplish the goal of funding Iran’s terror machine. Even if they spend four out of five dollars available from newly found money on rebuilding infrastructure in their country, that would still leave tens of billions of dollars in the hands of the Republican Guard, the secretive arm of the Iranian government that is responsible for terrorist activity around the globe.

As an ardent Zionist and supporter of the State of Israel, I cringe at the way Iran will feel newly empowered to cause trouble for Israel. There is strong reason to believe that they will strengthen Hezbollah, make their missiles (really, Iran’s missiles) more lethal, and possibly open a second front against Israel from Southern Syria. My assessment of whether or not the agreement is good is based on whether Israel is more or less at risk as a result of it. And I am inclined to think that Israel is more threatened because of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.

I have to decide soon whether or not to urge my representatives to oppose the agreement when Congress votes on it. And so do you.

Whether we favor or oppose the agreement, as Jews and supporters of Israel we certainly cannot be apathetic or indifferent. What we need to make a decision is clear information, accompanied by robust discussion and debate.

Toward that end, I’ve invited Matan Shamir, Executive Director of United Against Nuclear Iran, to speak to us at “Tapas and Torah” this Friday night (service at 8:00 PM, Tapas and presentation at 8:30 PM). Mr. Shamir and his organization may be against the Iran Nuclear Agreement, but I have spoken with him about the need for objectivity. He will not speak as if he is on a mission to persuade us to oppose the deal. He will not skew the facts toward his position. He will lay out why those who support the deal hold that view, and why those who oppose it do so.  He will make suggestions for how the deal could be improved from his perspective.  He will take questions and answer them objectively.

I urge you to be at Oheb Shalom this Friday evening, not primarily for the tapas of course, but for the opportunity to learn and discuss a truly crucial and momentous decision facing us as Americans and as Jews.

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2 thoughts on “Is It A Good Deal?

  1. Nicely put Rabbi, as each of us had an obligation to make a decision based on facts and reality; not blister and wishful thinking. And I think it is also fair to ask, what are the consequences, in the real world, if the deal is rejected. How sustainable will the sanctions resume be agree a defeat of the negotiated terms, considering how porous it already is.

  2. I’m so glad you’ve commented on the Iran deal. I’ve been waiting to hear what you have to say. I wish I could be there Friday night to get more information. As always, thinking about you, your family, and the great people at Oheb. I miss you all!

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