Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

JFGO hosts AIPAC briefing on Iran nuclear deal


AIPAC's Elana Rickel (center) and Abigail Cable speak with JFGO Executive Director Olga Yorish (l) and JFGO Board Chair Rhonda Forest (r) following the Aug. 5 briefing at the Jewish Community Campus in Maitland.

Abigail Cable, one of AIPAC's 11 lobbyists on Capitol Hill, spoke about the Iran nuclear deal, which she characterized as "the fight of a generation," with a group of about 20 local Jewish leaders on Aug. 5 at the Jewish Community Campus in Maitland.

Those in attendance included members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando's Board of Directors, the Jewish Community Resource Center and The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The special briefing was held to encourage a dialogue among Central Florida Jewish leaders about the agreement now under review in Congress. AIPAC has publicly come out in opposition to the agreement and is lobbying members of Congress in both parties to reject the deal. The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando has taken on a role of community facilitator and educator and thus has not taken an official stance for or against the deal.

During the Aug. 5 briefing, Cable pointed to five key areas where AIPAC believes the negotiations fell short, making the deal ineffective in curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions:

• Inspections: The agreement does not allow "anywhere/anytime inspections" of Iran's nuclear facilities. She predicted that Iran can and will deny access to any facility at any time with little fear of serious repercussions because of the "convoluted" inspection process laid out in the agreement.

• Possible military development: "We don't know how far Iran has progressed" in developing a nuclear weapon, Cable said, "and the agreement doesn't address that." She added that oversight of such issues is covered only in still-secret "side deals" between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

• Sanctions: The deal lifts sanctions as soon as the agreement goes into effect, freeing up billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets that could immediately be funneled into funding terrorist actions.

• Duration of agreement: Even if Iran complies with every aspect of the agreement, the regime's "breakout time"-the time it would take to develop a nuclear weapon-is virtually zero once the agreement expires in 15 years.

• Dismantling: The agreement does not result in the destruction or removal of any of Iran's centrifuges. Rather they will be put into storage. If Iran decides to break the agreement, Cable said, it could put the centrifuges back into service almost immediately.

During a Q&A with audience members, Cable emphasized that AIPAC is historically a nonpartisan group and supports a peaceful resolution to issues that threaten Israel's security.

"This is a policy disagreement, not an attack on the (Obama) administration," she said. The deal that was announced in July "missed a lot of key American benchmarks that the administration had previously laid out."

Cable conceded that even if Congress rejects the Iran deal, the chances of overriding a presidential veto are slim. But she said the stakes are too high for AIPAC to give up.

"We entered into this knowing that it was an uphill battle," she said.

With the congressional review period now underway, Federation is continuing to educate the public and promote a dialogue among members of the Greater Orlando Jewish Community. JFGO is currently working to organize a forum on the Iran nuclear issue in late August, and it continues to add content regularly to its special Iran resource page online (jfgo.org/iran).


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