Sec. Kerry shaking hands

What’s New with the Iran Talks?

Just under a year ago, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; plus Germany) made the historic announcement that they would be starting negotiations concerning Iran’s nuclear program. The goal of the negotiations was to, within six months, reach a deal to ensure Iran’s nuclear program could only be used for peaceful purposes (such as nuclear power), and in turn, have the United States roll back some of the economic sanctions placed on Iran. As a show of goodwill, the United States decided to relent with some of the sanctions (though most have been kept in place), while Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond a certain point (5%)—one that could be used for non-peaceful purposes.

Before the negotiations were supposed to conclude on July 20, the P5+1 and Iran extended the talks another six months, setting the new deadline at November 24. That deadline is coming up in less than two weeks, and it’s still very unclear whether a deal might be reached, and what it might look like. German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier acknowledged a “make-or-break” moment for negotiations, while Iran seemed to be expanding its uranium stockpile. Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union envoy Catherine Ashton (the EU has also levied sanctions against Iran) have just concluded two days of negotiations with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Though apparently the two sides still have significant differences, the United States has offered Iran the framework of a deal.

As Jews, we stay committed to the words of the psalmist, who tells us to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:15), and we believe that nuclear weapons pose a threat to the well-being of humanity and the world at large. We remain extremely concerned with Iran’s push to develop nuclear weapons, as was stated in the 2009 URJ Biennial resolution on Iran, and we will be monitoring this situation as it develops.

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Jonathan Edelman

About Jonathan Edelman

Jonathan Edelman is a 2014-2015 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the RAC. A 2014 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jonathan is originally from Jacksonville, FL and is a member of Congregation Ahavath Chesed.


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