April 2, 2020
News Press Release

ZOA Opposes Waiving or Easing Nuclear and Financial Sanctions on Iran

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2015, file photo released by the Iranian President's Office, President Hassan Rouhani visits the Bushehr nuclear power plant just outside of Bushehr, Iran. Iran announced Tuesday it would inject uranium gas into 1,044 centrifuges it previously kept empty under its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. (AP Photo/Iranian Presidency Office, Mohammad Berno, File)

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chairman Mark Levenson, Esq. released the following statement:

The ZOA strongly opposes the administration’s renewal on Monday, of waivers of certain nuclear sanctions on Iran.  The renewal allows Russian, European and Chinese companies to continue to work on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power station, Arak heavy water plant and Tehran Nuclear Research Reactor, for another 60 days – at a time when Iran has dramatically and perilously ramped up its nuclear activities.  ZOA is also concerned about a possible slight hint at the Secretary of State’s press conference yesterday that the administration might rethink or reevaluate easing sanctions on Iran.  

Easing or waiving the sanctions aimed at Iran’s escalating nuclear and terror activities and attacks on U.S. forces is unnecessary, dangerous and unthinkable.  

Easing or waiving such sanctions will not help combat coronavirus infections in Iran.  

Iranian leaders’ actions demonstrate that their real goal is to obtain more funds for its nuclear program and terror activities, instead of to help ill Iranians.  Iran continues to reject U.S. and other real offers of humanitarian assistance.

As ZOA has previously pointed out, medical and humanitarian supplies are already exempt from sanctions.  Iran flatly rejected U.S. offers to assist Iran in combatting the coronavirus.  See ZOA’s recent article condemning Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif and the National Iranian American Council (the putative U.S. lobbying arm of the Iranian regime) for misleadingly using the coronavirus as a pretext to demand ending sanctions on Iran.  

The Trump administration has repeatedly stated that its humanitarian assistance offers to the Iranian people still stand, and confirmed that sanctions do not impede such assistance.  See, e.g., Sec’y Pompeo’s Nowruz message: “our offer still stands to send humanitarian and medical assistance to the people of Iran.”   

Also see the U.S. State Department’s Iran-COVID-19 Disinformation Fact Sheet:  “The United States has and continues to offer humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people to help address the coronavirus outbreak. It is unfortunate for the Iranian people that their government has rejected this offer. Our priority has been to stand with the Iranian people – and this offer is still on the table.  U.S. sanctions are not preventing aid from getting to Iran. The United States maintains broad authorizations that allow for the sale of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices by U.S persons or from the United States to Iran.

Secretary Pompeo also pointed out on Tuesday that the U.S. is providing humanitarian assistance to Iran indirectly through American taxpayers’ enormous contributions to NGOs, including over $400 million last year to the World Health Organization, and over $700 million last year to UNICEF, which is engaged in emergency actions in China and Iran and dozens of other countries. 

Iranian leaders’ actions demonstrate that their real goal is to obtain more funds for its nuclear program and terror activities, instead of to help ill Iranians.  Iran continues to reject U.S. and other real offers of humanitarian assistance.  

Iran even revoked permission for Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF or Doctors Without Borders) to send a 50-bed treatment hospital and medical team to Iran’s hardest-hit area.  Iran absurdly claimed that MSF doctors were American and Israeli spies, and that MSF planned to examine Iranian patients to design another virus or drug targeted to only harm Iranians.

While Iranians are falling ill, the Iranian regime continues to direct substantial resources towards escalating its perilous nuclear activities.  

Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium already exceeded the allowable 202.8 kg (300 kg of UF6 – uranium hexoflouride) in July 2019.  The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) March 3, 2020 quarterly report concluded that Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile skyrocketed during the past 3 months, to 1020.9 kg (1510 kg of UF6) on February 19, 2020.  That’s five times the allowable stockpile.  Iran thus has enough uranium now for a nuclear bomb, if this stockpile is further enriched to weapons grade.  The IAEA also found that Iran’s uranium stockpile is up to 4.5% concentration – thus exceeding the 3.67% allowable concentration, and hastening Iran’s path towards producing weapons-grade uranium.  (¶C.3.24)  

The IAEA report also concluded that Iran has “manufacture[d] centrifuges . . . for activities beyond those specified in the JCPOA [Iran deal]” (¶C.3.24); that Iran’s stock of heavy water exceeds the allowable cap (¶C.1.10); and that the IAEA “has detected natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin [man-made activity, such as enrichment or weapons activity] in Iran not declared to the Agency” (¶E.32).  The latter finding raises the real, worrisome possibility that Iran is engaging in nuclear activities at undisclosed, clandestine locations.  (See also Gatestone Institute’s analysis: “Amid Coronavirus, Mullahs Speeding Up Nuclear Activities,” by Majid Rafizadeh, Mar. 31, 2020.)

An FDD analysis indicates that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei controls businesses and assets confiscated in 1979 worth $300 billion.  These funds should be used for the Iranian people’s benefit. 

ZOA thus urges the Trump administration to ignore media outlets who have joined the Iranian regime’s ploy of using the coronavirus as a pretext for demanding funding for Iran’s terror and nuclear activities.   The New York Times editorial last week entitled “This Coronavirus Crisis Is the Time to Ease Sanctions on Iran,” which demanded immediately providing Iran with $5 billion of (fungible) IMF funding, would increase funding for Iran’s terror and nuclear operations.  The editorial also absurdly demanded that the U.S. should provide the same medical humanitarian assistance that the U.S. previously offered and Iran rejected.  The New York Times further demanded that all assistance to Iran must be “no strings attached” – thus enabling the Iranian regime to continue to mercilessly hold innocent Americans in its prisons, attack our troops in Iraq, expand its illicit nuclear activities, and foment terror throughout the region, all with impunity.  Let’s not fall for this.