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Colorado Jews Call on the Biden Administration to Return to the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA)

April 22, 2021
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As a Jewish community, we have recently come out of the festival of Passover, whose
tradition tells our story of liberation from bondage under the Pharaoh in Egypt.  In the
Diaspora, we are using our rituals are more and more to acknowledge and celebrate
liberation from bondage or oppression of any kind in our contemporary world. Such is a
commitment of our faith; we cherish this special meaning every spring, and we should
reinforce our narrative by being consistent in our actions.

We are a group of progressive Jews urging the local Jewish community in Colorado to
support the United States reinstatement of the JCPOA Iran agreement by the Biden
administration in the U.S. Although Iran has not formally withdrawn from the agreement
it has begun to exceed a number of its restrictions.  It needs to fully return to
implementing the agreement as well.

We, members of Jewish Voice for Peace–Colorado and Coloradans for Diplomacy and
Peace, call on the United States to return to the agreement as signed in 2015.

Reinstating the deal would be a step towards the prevention of nuclear war breaking out
in the Middle East.  Not only would it be a step towards normalizing U.S. relations with
Iran, it would help to reduce tensions throughout the Middle East, including, in the long
run, reducing tensions between Iran and Israel.

The crippling sanctions against the Iranian people have no justification.  The sanctions,
along with the policy of maximum pressure, have failed to bring the government to its
knees, but have instead increased tensions.

Returning to the JCPOA would result in lifting crippling sanctions that are making life
unbearable for the average Iranian citizen. For the past two or three decades, sanctions
imposed against Iran by the U.S. have become gradually more devastating to its
economy and its population. The effects include bare supermarket shelves, understaffed
pharmacies and hospitals, medicine shortages, and fewer resources with which to
combat COVID-19.

We might call the sanctions a manifestation of a series of modern-day Pharaohs,
including the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. As Jews, we have
seen this before in our histories, and we continue to see it happen against members of
our communities, including to Iranians.

We want to further urge fellow Jews to call upon Israel to support the Iran deal, in the
interest of global peace and human rights, and our being unequivocally against (nuclear) war of any kind.  We oppose the emerging nuclear arms race heating up in the region, which includes not just Iran and Israel but Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other countries.  In this regard the JCPOA could be a modest but concrete step towards the establishment of a Middle East nuclear weapons free zone.

We urge local Jews to oppose sanctions and to return to the deal because a threat to
justice here in the U.S. is a threat to justice in Iran and in the region. The Trump
administration had fomented Islamophobia and racism against Middle Eastern peoples
in order to justify and support these deplorable sanctions while those in power gambled
with people’s lives.  We know now more than ever the impacts of white supremacy, anti-
Black racism, anti-South Asian/Arab/Muslim racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism–
attacks against all of our communities and especially against our communities of color
in Colorado.

We embrace the modest progress of the recent Vienna negotiations, and we urge the
Biden administration to become more involved, step up, and choose diplomacy over
war.  We cannot tolerate the U.S. dictating policy, control over the Middle East, the Arab
world, and the South West Asia and North Africa region.  A new more multilateral
approach based on a less militarist approach is needed, to prevent the danger of
nuclear war, to work for easing regional tensions.

For these reasons, we call upon everyone to support reinstatement of the deal.  The
struggle for liberation starts with us all.

Signed,

Saadia Behar

Neal Feldman

Ari Harms

Aaron Ney

Rob Prince

Evan Weissman

(Photo – Iranian Jews Celebrating the Sabbath)

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