U.S. rabbis sign letter opposing Iran nuclear agreement

Marcy Oster

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hundreds of United States rabbis, from all major Jewish streams, signed a letter urging members of Congress to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, writing that the hope for a good deal “is not yet realized.”

The letter, co-authored by Rabbis Kalman Topp of Beth Jacob Congregation in Southern California and Yonah Bookstein of Pico Shul in Los Angeles, was posted on the Care2 petition website earlier this month.

“Together, we are deeply troubled by the proposed deal, and believe this agreement will harm the short-term and long-term interests of both the United States and our allies, particularly Israel,” reads the letter. “Collectively, we feel we must do better.”

As of Tuesday morning, more than 840 rabbis had signed on; the petition remains open until Sept. 7, with a goal of 1,000 signatures.

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The letter criticizes key aspects of the deal, including the lifting of the arms embargo and providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief without an “airtight, comprehensive inspections structure.”

In mid-August, a petition urging support for the nuclear deal with Iran signed by 340 U.S. rabbis from the major denominations of Judaism and sponsored by Ameinu, a liberal Zionist organization, was sent to Congress.

Congress will vote on whether to approve the deal, in which the United States and five other world powers offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for scaling back its nuclear program,  in September. President Obama has vowed to veto any legislation aimed at blocking the deal.

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