ADL Concludes Congress Should Vote Against Iran Deal

Urges All Stakeholders to Prepare for Post Congressional Vote and Consider New Path, Whatever the Outcome

New York, NY, August 13, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed continued deep reservations regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. Until the Administration acts in clear ways to address its deep concerns regarding the JCPOA, ADL has concluded that Congress should vote no on the deal. ADL urges all stakeholders – the Administration, Congress, those supporting the agreement and those opposed – to be constructive about preparing for the period beyond the Congressional vote, whatever the outcome.

Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

The debate today is focused in Congress on ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the Iran deal.  Given the outstanding questions and our deep reservations about the agreement, we believe Congress should vote no on the deal.

At the same time, we believe there is an opportunity for bipartisan collaboration to forge a new path forward.

Regardless of the outcome of the vote, we have a responsibility to ensure that U.S. policy addresses the ‘day after’ the vote and Iran’s state-sponsored promotion of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism; its illiberalism at home, aggression in the region and support for terrorism around the world; and its unending litany of threats against America, Israel and other U.S. allies. 

With this ‘day after’ in mind, we believe the stakeholders - regardless of the outcome of a vote in Congress – should work across the aisle for a more robust approach towards Iran. We need to recognize the strategic challenges posed by Iran and propose to address them with new consensus around a regional strategy, one that reflects our democratic values and highest ideals.

That means:

  • Ensuring that within and beyond the lifetime of the JCPOA that it remains unequivocally the policy of the United States that Iran will never possess the ability to develop a nuclear weapon.
  • Taking concrete steps to stop the proliferation of Iranian extremism and destabilization throughout the region and around the globe.
  • Making clear an intensified U.S. commitment -- through sanctions and censure at international fora -- to oppose Iran’s violations of the basic freedoms we hold dear; its propagation of base anti-Semitism, including the denial of the Holocaust; its violent repression of LGBT, religious and ethnic minorities, and of the regime’s political opposition.
  • Preparing for the ‘day after’ also means enhancing long-standing and valuable alliances. Most importantly, that means deepening and strengthening the bipartisan nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship – despite differences over the Iran issue, and providing Israel and our other regional allies with what they require, both  diplomatically and militarily, to defend themselves against all aspects of the Iranian threat.

As parties continue to debate this issue, we urge all stakeholders to refrain from character attacks and innuendo that impugn the motives of one side or the other and to be sensitive to language that recalls age-old anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Since its announcement on July 14, ADL has raised objections to the JCPOA, fundamentally that the agreement pauses, but does not stop Iran’s nuclear weapon program, and thereby keeps the threat alive, albeit while lessening the likelihood of nuclear breakout over the short term. Our concerns – that the agreement will bolster the legitimacy and stability of hostile and illiberal Iranian regime – requires a serious response from the Administration.

While ADL believes the Administration has addressed some of the questions we highlighted in its July 20 letter to Members of Congress, serious concerns remain, including the effectiveness of the verification process to deter Iranian violations; the credibility of U.S. deterrence in light of the deal; the sufficiency of the nuclear limitations on Iran over the long term; and Iran’s new legitimacy and renewed financial ability to support its extremist policies.

Accordingly, ADL reaffirms its position that Congress should vote No.