Ex-Advisers Warn Obama that Iran Nuclear Deal May Fall Short of Standards for a Good Agreement – David E. Sanger
Five former members of President Obama’s inner circle of Iran advisers have written an open letter expressing concern that a pending accord to stem Iran’s nuclear program “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement” and laying out a series of minimum requirements that Iran must agree to in coming days for them to support a final deal.
Signatories include Dennis Ross, who oversaw Iran policy at the White House during the first Obama term; former CIA director David Petraeus; Robert Einhorn, a State Department proliferation expert who helped devise and enforce the sanctions against Iran; Gary Samore, Obama’s former chief adviser on nuclear policy; and Gen. James E. Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (New York Times)
U.S. Should Not Be Swayed by Khamenei’s Nuclear Threats – Editorial
The speech delivered Tuesday by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spelled out conditions that would make an accord impossible, short of a complete capitulation by the U.S. He rejected a long-term limitation of Iran’s uranium enrichment, curbs on its research and development, and international inspections of military facilities, and he said all U.S. and UN sanctions must be lifted “immediately after the signing of the agreement.”
It’s possible that the ayatollah’s speech was a bluff intended to improve Iran’s bargaining position. A more disturbing possibility is that Iran’s ruler is setting the precedent for disregarding a deal sometime after it is concluded and after the regime pockets the tens of billions of dollars in immediate financial relief it could receive. Whatever the case, the Obama administration must resist the temptation to respond with eleventh-hour concessions.
Throughout the Iran negotiations, Mr. Obama has insisted that he is ready to walk away rather than accept a bad deal. In light of the Khamenei speech, the White House must be ready to act on that threat. (Washington Post)
Bipartisan Statement on U.S. Policy toward the Iran Nuclear Negotiations (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- The emerging agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear enrichment infrastructure. It does not address Iran’s support for terrorist organizations, its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, its ballistic missile arsenal, or its oppression of its own people.
- The emerging nuclear agreement must provide the following:
- Monitoring and Verification: The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must have timely and effective access to any sites in Iran they need to visit in order to verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement. Iran must not be able to deny or delay timely access to any site anywhere.
- Possible Military Dimensions: The IAEA inspectors must be able, in a timely and effective manner, to take samples, to interview scientists and government officials, to inspect sites, and to review and copy documents as required for their investigation of Iran’s past and any ongoing nuclear weaponization activities. This work needs to be accomplished before any significant sanctions relief.
- Advanced Centrifuges: The agreement must establish strict limits on advanced centrifuge R&D, testing, and deployment in the first ten years, and preclude the rapid technical upgrade and expansion of Iran’s enrichment capacity after the initial ten-year period.
- Sanctions Relief: Relief must be based on Iran’s performance of its obligations. Suspension or lifting of the most significant sanctions must not occur until the IAEA confirms that Iran has taken the key steps required to come into compliance with the agreement. Non-nuclear sanctions (such as for terrorism) must remain in effect and be vigorously enforced.
- Consequences of Violations: The agreement must include a timely and effective mechanism to re-impose sanctions automatically if Iran is found to be in violation of the agreement, including by denying or delaying IAEA access.
See also Five Principles for a Good Nuclear Deal with Iran (American Israel Public Affairs Committee-AIPAC)
- Congress must continue to insist on a good deal that eliminates every Iranian pathway to a nuclear weapon. When reviewing the deal, Congress must ensure that each of the following five minimum criteria is met:
- Inspections and Verification – Inspectors must be granted unimpeded access to suspect sites for “anytime, anywhere” inspections, including all military facilities.
- Possible Military Dimensions – Iran must completely explain its prior weaponization efforts. Otherwise, it will be impossible to establish a baseline to measure Iran’s true capabilities and future actions.
- Sanctions – Sanctions relief must only begin after the International Atomic Energy Agency certifies that Iran has complied with its commitments under the agreement.
- Duration – A deal must last for decades to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear threshold state with a virtually instant breakout time after 12 or 13 years.
- Dismantlement – Iran must dismantle its nuclear infrastructure such that it has no path to a nuclear weapon.
(Click on the title of any article to see the whole article…Ed.)