J Street Sees Iran Agreement as Positive First Step

November 23, 2013

J Street welcomes the agreement reached today in Geneva by the P5+1 and Iran as a significant first step in efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The agreement will effectively freeze and begin to roll back the Iranian program in exchange for limited economic relief for six months. During this period, the P5+1 will continue to negotiate a permanent agreement, pressing the Rouhani regime to accept an enforceable comprehensive deal to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, while maintaining the essential sanctions architecture.

The accord has several very important provisions that will effectively freeze Iran’s program and begin to roll it back. Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent, dismantle the links between its networks of centrifuges and convert its 20 percent enriched uranium to oxide so it cannot easily be not used for military purposes. No new centrifuges can be started up and international monitors will be able to visit the two major enrichment sites of Fordo and Natanz daily.

Secretary of State John Kerry, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and their negotiating partners deserve our thanks for their clear-eyed pursuit of a diplomatic resolution, which remains the most desirable way to achieve the shared goal of the US, Israel and all parties with a stake in the security and stability of the Middle East.

Absent an agreement, either the Iranians would have kept moving full speed toward the capacity to assemble a weapon, or Israel, the United States or both would have been forced take military action to set back the Iranian program, potentially plunging the region into a deeply destabilizing war, the consequences of which would have been impossible to predict.

We urge Congress to get behind this agreement and continue to give our negotiators the time and space they need to complete a comprehensive and verifiable agreement with Iran that will lift the nuclear threat from the region and the world. Congress should heed President Obama’s call to hold off from enacting new sanctions now so that the international community can test Iran’s sincerity and work to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran that will lift the nuclear threat from Israel and the world.