Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientist an Apparent Attempt to Sabotage Diplomacy

November 28, 2020

In response to the assassination of senior Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement:

The assassination of a senior Iranian nuclear scientist appears to be an attempt to sabotage the ability of the incoming Biden administration to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as well as the chances of further diplomacy, either by limiting the political leeway of Iranian officials who want to restore the deal, or by triggering an escalation leading to military confrontation.

It seems those who oppose the JCPOA will stop at nothing to kill the agreement once and for all, despite repeatedly being proven wrong about the deal’s success in blocking Iran’s paths to a nuclear weapon and the disastrous consequences of Donald Trump’s violation of the pact.

The facts speak for themselves. Iran now has twelve times as much enriched uranium as when Trump took office. Its forces have openly launched missiles at US troops. The Iranian people — suffering cruel sanctions in the midst of a pandemic — blame the United States rather than their own government’s hardliners for their predicament.

Thankfully, change is on the way. But for President-elect Biden to have a real opportunity to restore and build on the JCPOA, others must step up in the remaining weeks of the defeated Trump administration.

We call on Congress to make clear that it supports diplomacy as the primary means to address threats emanating from Iran, beginning with the restoration of the JCPOA. We call on our allies around the world to seek calm and refrain from any actions that would further escalate tensions. We call on the Iranian government not to respond to the provocation of the assassination, and exercise restraint in anticipation of responsible, competent American leadership again being in place.

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