Institutions Politics

Religious responses to the Iran deal: Will we be safer or sorry?

Left to right, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talk while waiting for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (not pictured) for a group picture at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday (July 14, 2015). Iran and six major world powers reached a nuclear deal on July 14, 2015, capping more than a decade of on-off negotiations with an agreement that could potentially transform the Middle East, and which Israel called an "historic surrender". Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Carlos Barria *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-REACTION-IRAN, originally transmitted on July 14, 2015, and with RNS-IRAN-JEWS on August 13, 2015.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, second right, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, left, talk to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as they wait for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (not pictured) for a group picture at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria on July 14, 2015. Iran and six major world powers reached a nuclear deal on July 14, 2015, capping more than a decade of on-off negotiations with an agreement that could potentially transform the Middle East, and which Israel called an "historic surrender". Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Carlos Barria *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-REACTION-IRAN, originally transmitted on July 14, 2015.

Left to right, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talk while waiting for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (not pictured) for a group picture at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday (July 14, 2015). Iran and six major world powers reached a nuclear deal Tuesday, capping more than a decade of on-off negotiations with an agreement that could potentially transform the Middle East, and which Israel called a “historic surrender.” Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Carlos Barria
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-REACTION-IRAN, originally transmitted on July 14, 2015.

(RNS) World powers and Iran reached a historic deal Tuesday (July 14) to end economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for sharp restrictions on its nuclear program. Most of the immediate reaction to the deal came from Jewish groups, with its largest religious stream — the Reform movement — taking an open-minded approach. Other mainstream Jewish groups, along with evangelical Christians, blasted the deal as dangerous for Israel and naive in its willingness to trust Iran:

Anti-Defamation League

“We are deeply disappointed by the terms of the final deal with Iran announced today which seem to fall far short of the President’s objective of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. The thrust of the deal relies entirely on Iran’s good faith and the ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency to effectively carry out its inspection obligations.”

Christians United for Israel

“From, what we now know the Iran deal is unacceptable and poses a threat to the United States, Israel and all of Western civilization. The overwhelming majority of Americans do not support appeasing Iran and we expect Congress to reflect that position. … It is not in the interest of the United States, Israel or any free nation.”

Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

“The nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization is gravely concerned about the nuclear deal with Iran announced today, which concludes years of negotiations between the United States and its Western allies and Iran.”

The Vatican

“The agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See,” said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

Reform Jewish Community (including the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism)

“In the coming days and weeks, we will go back to our trusted experts and continue to consult with our constituencies to better understand the consequences of this proposed agreement.”

The American Center for Law & Justice (which represents the family of American Pastor Saeed Abedini)

“It is unconscionable that the Obama Administration would sign a deal with Iran without securing the freedom of Pastor Saeed who has been imprisoned for nearly three years simply because of his Christian faith,” said Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ’s chief counsel.

National Jewish Democratic Council

“In order to truly determine whether or not this deal is what we need and want it to be, we call on the entire community to take the necessary time to read and review the details of the agreement.”

Republican Jewish Coalition

“This deal meets zero of the criteria for a good deal —  it is not enforceable, verifiable, or in America’s national security interest. Unless Congress stops it, the world will be less safe as the United States will remove sanctions on Iran, and in return, Iran will still pursue nuclear weapons.”

Zionist Organization of America

“For the U.S., Israel and the world the deal paves the way to provide nuclear weapons to Khamenei, the Hitler of the Mideast, and hundreds of billions of dollars to Iran, the Nazi Germany of the Mideast, enabling them to fund, arm, and increase Islamic terrorism throughout the world,” wrote Mort Klein, ZOA president.

Jewish Voice for Peace

“This opportunity for the diplomatic process to succeed in avoiding war with Iran is too important to discard over partisan politics. This is a strong deal and we urge our elected leaders to vote in favor of the agreement when it comes before Congress,” said Rabbi Joseph Berman, the group’s government affairs liaison.

YS/AMB END MARKOE

About the author

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe has been a national reporter for RNS since 2011. Previously she covered government and politics as a daily reporter at the Charlotte Observer and The State (Columbia, S.C.)

About the author

Sara Weissman

6 Comments

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  • They also excluded progressive churches like the UCC, the Episcopalians, and atheist groups like the American Humanist Association.

  • The statement from the Reform Jewish Community is perhaps the weakest and meaningless response I have ever read. As a reform Jewish American, it is beyond disheartening that Christians United for Israel said, without equivocation, what the Reform Jewish Community should have said. Thank you, Christians United for Israel!!

  • Muslim leaders have no history of honoring their word, especially Iran. They will pursue their intentions as if this deal was never made….it seems to be natural to them. Perhaps its only good for future reprisals from the West, showing that they have broken a signed agreement. I believe Hitler broke every deal he signed….he stalled for more time to start his war…..and the world stood by.

  • Note the identical sentiments by the National Jewish Democratic Council and the Reform Jewish groups. It’s obvious that they exchanged notes.

    A century ago, it was said that the Episcopal Church was “the Republican Party at prayer,” as that church acted as if it were a wholly owned subsidiary of the GOP.

    Today, the same can be said about Reform Judaism’s major bodies — the far left wing of the Democratic Party owns these people.

    Their problem is they hate Republicans more than they love Israel.

  • The National Jewish Democratic Council and Reform Judaism’s representative groups obviously are trying to run out the clock….hoping the deal becomes permanent before anyone asked them again what they think of it.

    And Reform wonders why Israel isn’t ready at the drop of a hat to butt heads with the Orthodox in the battle for Reform legitimacy.

    Maybe if they’d put love of Israel ahead of placating Barack Obama and the radical left, Israelis would be more sympathetic.

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