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OU Concerned by Obama’s Backtrack on Iran

Orthodox Jewish group voices concern over Obama’s new policy on Iran.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 11/12/2013, 5:32 PM

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama
Flash 90

America’s largest orthodox Jewish group, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU), voiced “grave concerns” Tuesday over the negotiations between Western countries – including the United States – and Iran over Tehran's clandestine nuclear program.

OU executive-director for public police Nathan Diament stated on behalf of the OU, “The leadership of the Orthodox Union views with grave concern the pending negotiations between the P5+1 western countries and Iran which most recently occurred in Geneva and are still pending.

“For the past several years, the American Orthodox Jewish community, along with our fellow Americans, has watched as Iran has worked assiduously to obtain nuclear weapons capability. In the U.S., we have supported and appreciated the efforts of Congress to legislate sanctions and the Obama Administration to implement them.  

“The pressure of these sanctions brought Iranian leaders to the negotiating table. In recent weeks, the Obama Administration has sought to delay Congress legislating further sanctions. And, based on reports of the just concluded talks in Geneva, it appears that the U.S. is prepared to relieve the existing sanctions for what appears to be little movement toward the stated goal of ending the prospect of Iran having nuclear weapons capability.

“This state of affairs is at odds with the critical interests of the United States and is at odds with the policy goals and assurances President Obama has repeatedly announced.

“We therefore call upon President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to act in accordance with the policy goal of stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capacity and we call upon Congress to pass legislation increasing sanctions on Iran to help achieve that goal.”

Talks with Iran so far yielded one proposed deal that appears to have fallen through.

Israeli leaders have warned that the suggested deal with Iran would have reduced pressure on the Iranian leadership while leaving it with the ability to produce nuclear weapons within a short period of time.

United States Ambassador Dan Shapiro and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have both sought to assuage Israeli concerns. Kerry stated this week that the talks with Iran would help protect Israel more effectively.