Press Release

ADL Criticizes U.S. Policy on Iran and Calls for Additional Sanctions

New York, NY, November 11, 2013 … In a series of media interviews in Israel, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), on Monday criticized the Obama Administration’s approach to the Iranian nuclear talks taking place in Geneva and called for the imposition of additional sanctions against Iran.

Referring to the October 29 meeting with Jewish leaders at the White House, Mr. Foxman said after that meeting he gave the administration “the benefit of the doubt” and agreed to refrain for a short period of time from urging the Senate to impose additional Iran sanctions as the U.S. and other nations pursued diplomatic efforts with Iran.

Now, having reviewed some of the points of the tentative agreement to be acted upon November 20 in Geneva, Mr. Foxman said he believes that, “We no longer have the luxury or the option to refrain from enacting additional sanctions against Iran.”

Mr. Foxman, who spent the last week traveling in Israel and holding a series of briefings with high-level Israeli leaders as part of an ADL leadership delegation, issued the following statement from Jerusalem:

After the White House meeting on October 29, I was among the few Jewish leaders to give the Obama Administration the benefit of the doubt in pursuing the diplomatic route and agreed to refrain from urging the Senate to impose additional sanctions for a short period of time to enable the U.S. to pursue diplomacy.  I wanted to give the Obama Administration a chance to demonstrate that they could make real progress on this issue.  But rather than leading Iran to make serious concessions, the Islamic Republic has used the perception of its willingness to negotiate with the U.S. and other nations in order to hold on to its right to enrich uranium while getting relief from some sanctions.

I was deeply troubled by several of the points in the tentative agreement which were reported in the past few days and may be acted upon in the next round of meetings scheduled for November 20 in Geneva. I am now convinced that this agreement will not only prematurely roll back the sanctions regime, but that it would legitimize Iran as a threshold nuclear state. I believe we no longer have the luxury or the option to refrain from enacting additional sanctions against Iran. The time has come for Congress, especially the Senate, not only to reconfirm and strengthen the existing sanctions, but also to begin to impose additional sanctions against Iran. Crippling sanctions have worked in the past and they have the greatest chance to succeed in getting Iran to agree to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Both the U.S. and Israel need each other at this pivotal moment, but do not seem to trust each other. The U.S. government’s leaking of information about Israel’s defensive military actions in the area, including actions in Syria and Sudan – not to mention Secretary of State John Kerry’s moral preaching to the Israelis on the Israeli-Palestinian issue – were counterproductive. Clearly, both countries share the same goals: regional stability, preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and making progress with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  But the strategy to get there is different. At times this creates tension between the two states when the strategy is emphasized over the goals.