Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. State Department photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly objected to the Iran deal. State Department photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A pair of Democratic Southland congressmen said Tuesday they look forward to analyzing a U.S.-brokered deal to lift sanctions against Iran, but officials at the Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned the proposed accord.

“Since 1979, no Iranian leader has changed his mind or actions about Israel, about the U.S. or about human rights,” Wiesenthal Center Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper said in a joint statement. “It is the height of folly and naivete to believe that the Iranian regime will change its stripes in the next decade. No one denies that this agreement will allow Iran in 10 years to produce nuclear weapons in a matter of weeks.”

Hier and Cooper echoed concerns expressed in March by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during an address to Congress in which he implored opposition to any compact with Iran.

“We note that Israelis across the full political spectrum — from Prime Minister Netanyahu to opposition leader Isaac Herzog — are united in denouncing an agreement that confers legitimacy on the world’s greatest terrorist state that has declared the destruction of the Jewish State as ‘non- negotiable,”‘ Hier and Cooper said.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, said he looks forward to reviewing the agreement, but he said an accord “to halt nuclear proliferation cannot be built on trust but on verifiable, enforceable requirements.”

“Every word will count in this agreement and we need to know the meaning of each provision of this deal,” he said. “It must constitute measurable progress in halting nuclear proliferation and in driving the region and the world farther away from nuclear Armageddon.”

Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City, said he appreciates the efforts to negotiate an agreement with Iran, “but we must ensure that any deal does not allow Iran to build a nuclear weapon.”

“We do not know the exact details of this agreement and I look forward to closely evaluating it,” Cardenas said. “I hope to see a framework of a truly effective, impactful treaty that will use transparent, constant verification, which will keep Americans safe, protect our allies in the region and lead to future stability.”

According to terms of the nonproliferation deal sought by the Obama administration, Iran will regain access to billions in frozen assets and once again be permitted to sell its energy products worldwide in exchange for providing International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to the Islamic republic’s nuclear facilities.

To operate embargo-free, Iran will also be obligated to divest itself of some weapon-grade uranium. However, critics of the agreement were quick to point out that there’s nothing in it granting inspectors authority to examine “undeclared” nuclear facilities, and testing of advanced centrifuges — key to building nuclear bombs — will be permitted to continue as long as it’s for avowedly “peaceful” purposes.

The U.S. State Department has designated Iran a State Sponsor of International Terrorism since the early 1980s, according to the agency’s website.

— City News Service 

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