Central Florida leaders and voters met for a forum on Iran, just three weeks before Congress votes on authorizing a deal concerning the future of that country’s nuclear program.
Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson and Dr. Matthew Kroenig were the featured speakers in a discussion Tuesday night hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando and moderated by Orlando News Anchor Lauren Rowe.
The Jewish Federation has taken a strong stance focusing on facilitation and education of the deal, with Israeli safety the group’s top priority.
Despite the two guests trying to maintain a neutral tone of the event, the sentiment was mostly negative behind the deal that seeks to cap certain aspects of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.
A show of hands showed an overwhelming disapproval of the deal, with a lack of trust in the Iranian government’s intentions to comply with it requirements.
Starting the evening, Dr. Kroenig reviewed the details of the proposed deal, which would limit Iran’s nuclear facilities, centrifuges, and the timeline that it could potentially develop a weapon. Safeguards in place would ensure compliance, which includes access by international inspectors; with a “snapback” of the lifted sanctions should Iran violate the terms.
Kroenig believed the “pressure track” the United States was previously using when negotiating with Iran had been the best option, adding that it was crucial that possible military force remain “on the table” to avoid the country’s access to a nuclear weapon.
“The deal will ultimately delay,” he concluded, “but not stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
Grayson started by describing his personal relationship to the issue.
He talked about his grandparents traveling to Israel, which Grayson said was one of happiest moments of their lives. As the “first and only Central Florida Jewish congressman,” Grayson – who is officially undecided on the proposal — said the matter was very important to him, walking the audience through the pros, cons and possible scenarios that could play out diplomatically, should the deal pass or fail next month.
“Typically, when you vote on something, you understand the consequences of your vote,” Grayson said. “The mystery is what will happen if this vote passes or if it fails.”
While the White House supports the deal reached by an international coalition of allies, the proposal polls poorly in Israel, with 80 percent opposed.