Iran nuclear deal dustup continues in Wisconsin | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Iran nuclear deal dustup continues in Wisconsin


The left and right have been critical of one another over the Iran deal that puts the brakes on the recalcitrant nation’s nuclear program. Now, the battle is heating up in Wisconsin thanks to J Street, the left-leaning Jewish advocacy group.

J Street has launched a half million-dollar campaign against Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and another vulnerable U.S. senator, for their opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. Wisconsin challenger Russ Feingold is for the Iran deal and Johnson is against it, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

J Street is responding to what Politico has called a barrage of television ads over the past year slamming Democratic candidates who supported the Iran nuclear deal.

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami on Wednesday, Oct. 5, released TV spots to screen in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Johnson are in tight competitive races. A release said the campaign also will include “internet advertising, direct mail and polling.”

The J Street release did not name the states, but Ben-Ami in a conference call on Oct. 5 identified them as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

J Street spent over $5 million last year in publicity and lobbying in a successful bid to keep Congress from killing the deal, which exchanges sanctions relief for constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.

In competitive races in Ohio and Florida, Republicans who opposed the deal are trumpeting their record on Iran. In Ohio, incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, has attempted to tie former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, to the deal.

The jury is still out on whether the deal has stopped Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons quest in the long term. Israel’s military brass has assessed that the deal has stopped Iran from advancing toward a nuclear bomb — for now.

Iran insists that its nuclear program was never about weapons. Western powers, particularly the United States, Israel and France, are skeptical in the extreme, saying that while weaponization may not have been achieved, the level and breadth of uranium enrichment underway before the nuclear deal, and Iran’s investment in delivery systems identified with nuclear attacks, strongly suggest that the program’s ultimate goal was weapons.

The deal applies a strict inspections regime that keeps Iranian enrichment to levels that cannot be weaponized for eight years. Those limits are lessened for another seven years, which is when – after 15 years in all — the relatively unfettered access for international nuclear inspectors ends.

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