Tag Archives: Arms Control

Unpacking PM Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a joint session of Congress earlier today to oppose a nuclear deal with Iran. The speech has been controversial due to a breach of protocol that occurred when Speaker of the House John Boehner extended the invitation to speak without consulting President Obama. Many Members of Congress boycotted the speech, but many more came to hear what Prime Minister Netanyahu had to say.

Also in attendance was RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who issued a statement in response to the speech,

“I was grateful to hear from Prime Minister Netanyahu. The issue of Iran’s nuclear capability is of critical concern to Americans, Israelis and people around the world. This morning, Prime Minister Netanyahu made his case before the U.S. Congress and the American people. In so doing, he also clearly and rightly made an effort to address and ameliorate the partisan tensions that surrounded the speech and detracted from the real issue, which is Iran. He acknowledged the long-standing commitment of President Obama to the concerns of Israel that so clearly coincide with our own nation’s security needs and values.”

There were many different reactions to the speech, from The New York Times editorial board finding PM Netanyahu’s reasoning “unconvincing”, to the American Jewish Committee calling on world powers to “heed Israel’s warnings.”

The rest of Rabbi Pesner’s statement can be found on our website, along with our other work combatting Iranian nuclear development issues.

Sec. Kerry walks down a hallway with the Iranian Foreign Minister and EU Representative

Keeping up with the Iran Negotiations

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, will be holding informal talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other negotiating teams on the sidelines of World Economic Forum this week in Davos, Switzerland. Yet the real negotiating is going on around Capitol Hill, where the newly-sworn in 114th Congress is proposing new legislation around the talks. Three different pairs of Senators are proposing new bills: Read more…

Sec. Kerry walks down a hallway with the Iranian Foreign Minister and EU Representative

Update on the Iran Nuclear Talks

Last month, I talked about the coming deadline for the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1, which was on November 24. At the time, it was unclear whether the sides would reach an agreement, whether they would extend the talks, or whether they would walk away. We learned on the 24 that the parties could not reach a comprehensive agreement, but decided on a 7-month extension until June, during which remaining difference would be sorted out.

Read more…

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. Read more…

Nuclear Explosion

We Can Still Work with Russia for Nuclear Disarmament

In college, I spent a semester working at a London-based Jewish non-profit that focused on development projects within Ukraine’s marginalized Jewish population, and during that semester I found myself learning a great deal about Ukraine and the people who live there. As someone who cares about the people in Ukraine, and as someone who cares about the world around Ukraine, the violence that erupted this summer is scary and depressing. The news was at times hard to believe, from hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians being displaced, to ever-bleaker prospects among the LGBT community there, to the still-unresolved tragedy of the Malaysia Airlines jet being shot down by pro-Russian separatists.

Read more…

Update on Iranian Nuclear Negotiations

This past Sunday, July 20th, marked the original deadline set by the P5+1 countries (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany) and Iran to reach an agreement after months of nuclear negotiations in Geneva.  As many people, including politicians, journalists, and faith leaders, predicted, the countries agreed to extend the negotiations for an additional six months.  (This extension comes seven months after P5+1 and Iran reached an interim agreement in late November.  That agreement, which was implemented beginning on January 20, resulted in a roll back of a few sanctions against Iran in exchange for limitations on Iran’s nuclear program, including halting production at Arak, Iran’s heavy-water reactor.) Read more…

President Obama Speaks at Nuclear Security Summit

President Obama spoke last week at a news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. They addressed the news conference together, highlighting the importance of both preventing nuclear terrorism and working with other nations with the same goal.  Read more…

Sec. Kerry shaking hands

Iran: An Update

On November 24, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry and other leaders of the P5+1 negotiations with Iran announced an interim agreement between the parties.  The six-month deal reached in Geneva between the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, Germany  and Iran rolls back some of the sanctions against the Iranian government in exchange for limitations on Iran’s nuclear program.  Another crucial part of the deal is that Iran agreed to freeze construction on its heavy-water reactor, Arak.  Read more…

<