The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned a relatively little-known aspect of the nuclear deal concluded by the P5+1 powers (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including the United States, plus Germany) and Iran –– the part which protects and lifts sanctions on senior Iranian military commanders responsible for the murder of Americans and Israelis. The deal also did not address the plight, nor result in the release of, four American citizens being held prisoner by the radical Islamic Iranian regime.
According to the nuclear agreement, General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force since 1998, a unit responsible for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s operations outside the country, is among hundreds of individuals who will no longer be sanctioned for their role in terrorist attacks. Soleimani assisted Shiite Iraqi terrorists to kill American soldiers, has aided Syrian President Bashar Assad’s murderous regime, and has been implicated in the failed 2011 attempt on the life of Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. on American soil (Shane Harris, ‘Nuke Deal Helps Qasem Soleimani, The Top Iranian General With ‘American Blood on His Hands,’ Daily Beast, July 14, 2015).
Sanctions are to be lifted on the IRGC itself, which has been behind numerous terrorist attacks including many that targeted Jews and Israelis. Sanctions will be lifted on the IRGC Air Force and senior officials in Tehran’s nuclear program – Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of the Basij paramilitary force who views “removing Israel from the map” as an Iranian objective, and also former minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, a former senior officer in the IRGC who has expressed support of an attack against Israel (Yitzhak Benhorin, ‘Iranian officials calling for Israel’s destruction to enjoy sanctions relief,’ Yediot Ahronot, July 16, 2015).
Additionally, the Iran deal also abandons four Americans who remain imprisoned in Iran and who appear to be guiltless of any crime: former marine Amir Hekmati who has lost 30 pounds since incarceration and has trouble breathing, journalist Jason Rezaian, former FBI agent Robert Levinson who disappeared in 2007 during a trip to Iran, and Christian pastor Saeed Abedini who has been held in Iran since 2012 for the ‘crime’ of organizing private Christian services in Iranian homes (Joshua Berlinger & Ray Sanchez, ‘Iran nuclear deal: What does it mean for Americans held in Iran?,’ CNN, July 15, 2015).
ZOA National Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, “We are utterly appalled, but not surprised, that the Iran nuclear deal –– in addition to legitimizing Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program and providing a path to an Iranian nuclear capability –– terminates personal sanctions against senior Iranian military commanders who have been sanctioned for their responsibility in the murder hundreds of Americans in Iraq.
“Many of these figures have also been involved in orchestrating terrorist attacks on Israelis and Jews internationally. They have not been punished. Now, we have agreed that all sanctions on them and the Iranian apparatus of terror known as the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps are to be lifted.
“This is a travesty and a dark moment for America, Israel, and the free world.”