On Wednesday, President Obama’s former Iran and nonproliferation experts signed on to a letter warning that the emerging Iran deal may “fall short of the administration’s own standard.” Signatories include the White House’s former chief weapons of mass destruction advisor, Gary Samore, the Department of State’s former principal nonproliferation advisor, Robert Einhorn, the former director of the CIA, David Petraeus, the former special advisor on the Persian Gulf, Dennis Ross, and other prominent officials and analysts. The letter, released by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, asserts that the emerging deal will not dismantle Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and outlines the components necessary to achieving a good deal. These include anywhere, anytime inspections, including military sites; strict limits on centrifuge R&D; disclosure of Iran’s past atomic military work before sanctions relief; phased suspension of sanctions based upon Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the deal; and the creation of an effective mechanism to re-impose sanctions automatically in the event of an Iranian violation. The letter concludes, "Without these features, many of us will find it difficult to support a nuclear agreement with Iran."
Recent reports, however, have called into question the administration’s commitment to ensuring that these elements become part of a final deal with Iran. For example, the AP reported that the P5+1 are prepared to accept a deal that does not include full disclosure of Iran’s past atomic research prior to significant sanctions relief. Additionally, reports indicate that the administration is considering suspending terror- and ballistic missile-related sanctions, which would curtail US capability to counter terror finance. The bipartisan group of experts urged the US to do more to counter Iran’s influence and support traditional American allies in the region.
On Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of Defense William Cohen remarked that Iran’s Arab rivals can be expected to respond to the emerging deal by beginning nuclear weapons programs of their own, echoing similar comments made by Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz.
To that end, the draft, entitled “Civil Nuclear Cooperation,” promises to supply Iran with light-water nuclear reactors instead of its nearly completed heavy-water facility at Arak, which could produce enough plutonium for several bombs a year if completed as planned...
Outlining plans to modify that heavy-water reactor, the draft, dated June 19, offers to “establish an international partnership” to rebuild it into a less proliferation-prone facility while leaving Iran in “the leadership role as the project owner and manager.”
The eight-page draft also promises “arrangements for the assured supply and removal of nuclear fuel for each reactor provided,” and offers help in the “construction and effective operation” of the reactors and related hardware. It offers cooperation with Iran in the fields of nuclear safety, nuclear medicine, research, nuclear waste removal and other peaceful applications.
The AP further notes that the document “has bracketed text in dozens of places where disagreements remain.” The revelation of this offer comes on the heels of a defiant speech by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which emphasized a refuse inspections of military sites, long term restrictions on Iran’s nuclear research and development and demanding immediate sanctions relief.
Despite the offers of the P5+1 nations to assist Iran’s nuclear program, the AP cites an American diplomat who asserted that “the sides were still apart not only on how transparent Iran must be but all other ancillary issues as well.” (via TheTower.org)