Dems, Republicans & Experts Question Terms of Iran Deal

Politicians and experts from across the political spectrum are calling into question the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran. The two primary issues – verifiability and the possibility of military dimensions (PMD) of the Iranian nuclear program – threaten to derail the agreement.

A report, “Verifying a Final Nuclear Deal with Iran,” written by the former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Olli Heinonen, states that for the agreement to be effective in real terms, verifiability must be a function of “unfettered,” “anywhere, anytime” access and not subject to any bureaucratic procedures which would give Iran time to alter the results of any inspections.

The report, signed by 20 foreign policy experts including Democrats and Republicans, criticizes the Obama administration for drawing up an agreement that essentially lets Iran remain a “nuclear threshold state,” specifically noting the fact that the agreement does not resolve any issues having to do with PMD and that sanctions relief will come without any of the above issues being resolved. In addition, the proposed verification provisions fall significantly short, meaning that there is no assurance that Iran’s nuclear program will stay contained within the limitations set out by the agreement.

Other damning reports recently released have come to the same conclusions:

  • A report titled “Necessary Safegurads for a Final Deal with Iran” by Eric Edelman – a career foreign service officer, ambassador and under-secretary of defense for policy — and the president’s former senior adviser Dennis Ross, says “it is uncertain whether the potential monitoring and verification regime adumbrated in the White House factsheet would be remotely sufficient for this task.”
  • Another report titled “Sunsets and Snapbacks: The Asymmetry Between an Expanding Iranian Nuclear Program and Diminishing Western Leverage,” by Mark Dubowitz and Annie Fixler, questions wisdom of making an agreement with Iran before the issue of PMD is resolved, thereby giving up any leverage the West may have. In addition, the report makes the case that it is folly to believe that sanctions can realistically be “snapped back” once international companies have invested billions of dollars in Iran.  The report notes that “international sanctions regime took decades to put in place and to have an impact on Iran’s economy and decision making.” Any snap-backs, if possible, will not be felt immediately. Given that the breakout time to create a bomb is estimated at one year, snap-backs offer no real deterrance to Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, the Iranian parliament voted to take away their power to veto of any nuclear agreement drawn up with world powers. In amending their own previous legislation, the lawmakers put the veto power into the hands of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), a group made up of ministers and military commanders chosen by Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and headed by Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.

“Whatever decision the leader takes in this regard, we should obey in parliament,” said speaker of the parliament Ali Larijani . “We should not tie the hands of the leader.”

However, the lawmakers did reject any inspections of the country's nuclear program that are not “conventional” visits, effectively banning inspection of military sites.

At the same time, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said “at the point where we are, things are not clear [in terms of whether an agreement with Iran] can be reached. There is a need to clarify, make precise and ensure the deal is robust."