Area Rabbis Make Clear Their Feelings on Iran Negotiations in Letter to Casey

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In an example of the Jewish community’s unease over the future of the nuclear negotiations with Iran, two Pennsylvania rabbis have authored and sent a letter to Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) with suggestions and concerns.

In one of the more striking examples of the American Jewish community’s level of unease over the future of the nuclear negotiations with Iran, two Pennsylvania rabbis have authored and sent a letter to Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) with suggestions and concerns about the outcome of the talks.

In the letter, signed by 35 other rabbis representing both themselves and their congregations, Rabbi Mitchell Delcau of Temple Judea and Rabbi Eric Yanoff of Adath Israel expressed to Casey their gratitude for everything he has done to this point to help make Iran a nonnuclear state, along with what they felt should be non-negotiable points.


“As negotiations with Iran intensify, we are pleased that you, and all of our friends in Congress, will have an opportunity to assert your constitutional role in foreign policy and review a final agreement,” they wrote in the letter.

They outlined five “essential points” they feel are necessary in any final agreement reached, including that sanctions relief begin after Iran complies with its commitments; Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons must be “blocked for decades” and demonstrate that the country “no longer seeks a nuclear weapons capability”; and Iran must “dismantle its nuclear infrastructure so it has no pathway to a nuclear weapon.”

John Rizzo, communications director for Casey’s office, said the office did receive the letter and is in the process of reviewing it.

“Senator Casey is committed to ensuring the Iranian regime does not acquire a nuclear weapons capability and has strongly supported legislation, including the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 and the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015,” Rizzo said in a statement.

“He will thoroughly evaluate any final agreement, if one is reached, to ensure it protects our national security interests and those of our important ally in the region, Israel.”

Delcau and Yanoff sent the letter to the clergy of many surrounding area synagogues and across Pennsylvania and acquired signatures in support from religious leaders.

Rabbi David Straus, of Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood, said he signed the letter because it “expressed my sentiments.”

“Any deal that’s done should meet the requirements that indeed truly make for a non-nuclear Iran,” he said. He added it is too early to know if that’s going to happen, but whatever deal is made should meet what is outlined in the letter.

The letter concluded with another declaration of their gratitude for Casey’s history with the Jewish community and Israel.

“As rabbis serving thousands of families in Pennsylvania, we appreciate your commitment to our communities and we are grateful for your dedication to the safety and security of Israel and the stability of the greater Middle East.”

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