The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America expressed its profound concern at Secretary of State Albright’s announcement last week that the United States would lift sanctions against Iran. In an effort to open the door for trade, the Secretary announced an ease on some Iranian consumer goods and luxury items, in the hope of encouraging moderate forces among the Iranian populace.
Betty Ehrenberg, Director of International and Communal Affairs, said, “The Orthodox Union is profoundly concerned by the lifting of sanctions against Iran by the Administration. Since Iran remains a very serious threat for the United States and Israel as it supports terrorist groups and is seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them, we view this step as premature. Although recent elections in Iran did result in the success of more moderate candidates, Iran has still a long way to go in demonstrating that there really has been a true change in areas of both domestic and foreign policy. Iran persists in the development of ballistic missiles as well as chemical and nuclear weapons which pose a short-term threat to Israel and long-term one to the United States. Iran remains the foremost sponsor and promoter of terrorism and international terrorist groups, including Hizbollah that operates in Southern Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad which are active in Judea and Samaria.
“Thirteen Jews who were imprisoned nearly a year ago on false charges of espionage have remained since then in Iranian jails are about to be tried next month. It is clear that Iran has not yet demonstrated substantial evidence of moderating its extremist positions nor its intolerance of its minorities. In order for the United States to lift sanctions, Iran must demonstrate that she has indeed changed policies that favor international terrorism and animosity towards the State of Israel and should immediately release the thirteen innocent Iranian Jews.”