11 Jewish ex-congressmen back Iran deal; 190 former generals oppose
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11 Jewish ex-congressmen back Iran deal; 190 former generals oppose

(JTA) — Eleven Democratic Jewish former congressmen signed a letter supporting the agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, while 190 former generals signed a letter opposing the agreement.

The letter backing the deal, released Thursday, touted the signers’ pro-Israel bona fides, and said the agreement “halts the immediate threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.” Congressional rejection of the deal, the letter warned, would “put Iran back on the path to develop a nuclear weapon within two to three months.”

Its signatories include former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, and former Reps. Barney Frank (Massachusetts), Mel Levine, (California) Steve Rothman (New Jersey) and Robert Wexler (Florida).

“Military options remain on the table should Iran violate the agreement, while rejecting this deal would weaken the deterrent value of America’s military option,” the letter said. “We championed the U.S.-Israel alliance as members of the House and Senate, and we all strongly support this agreement because it will enhance the security of the U.S., the State of Israel and the entire world.”

The generals’ letter opposing the deal, sent Wednesday, says the agreement “will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies,” according to the Washington Post. The deal, according to the letter, “provides Iran with a legitimate path” to obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The letter’s signers include Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, President George W. Bush’s deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, as well as Leon A. “Bud” Edney, vice chief of naval operations under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

“Removing sanctions on Iran and releasing billions of dollars to its regime over the next ten years is inimical to the security of Israel and the Middle East,” the letter said. The generals wrote that the agreement “would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.”

The deal was finalized between Iran and six world powers last month. Congress will vote on it in September, and President Obama has promised to veto any rejection of the deal.