Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran’s leaders have viewed the United States and Israel as enemies and have provided extensive financing, training and overall support to terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda, and Islamic Jihad. For many years, Iran has been developing nuclear projects, raising the fear that these could be converted into weapons of mass destruction.
Negotiators from Great Britain, Germany, and France reached an agreement with Iran that calls for a voluntary and temporary suspension of its uranium enrichment activities. The 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) endorsed this accord. However, Iranian authorities have repeatedly deceived the IAEA and the international community concerning its nuclear activities. The Bush Administration, which has clearly expressed a commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability, has expressed skepticism regarding Iran’s pledge to freeze sensitive parts of its nuclear program, and has suggested that this issue be considered by the United Nations Security Council. Israel has expressed grave concern regarding the potential of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability. Indeed, experts believe that Iran could be less than a year away from producing atomic weapons without any outside assistance. In addition, Iran continues to develop its Shihab-3 ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that would enable Iran to strike anywhere in Israel, as well as parts of Europe, from deep inside Iranian territory.
The JCPA believes that:
- Efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power should be a high priority of the United States and the international community;
- Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons should be condemned;
- Iran must abide by its commitment to grant IAEA inspectors full, unrestricted access and cooperate fully with the investigation of Iranian nuclear activities.
The community relations field should:
- Encourage the Bush administration to continue to address the challenge posed by Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons capability, and communicate concern about this issue to members of Congress as well as representatives of foreign nations (particularly Russia and the European Union) and to the United Nations;
- Work with Jewish and appropriate non-Jewish coalition partners to raise awareness about this issue, continue to monitor the situation and provide guidance as needed.