Iran Nuclear Deal


Date: 2015–06–22 04:23

Subject: Iran Nuclear Deal

Dear Jake,

I have sent several detailed notes on the Iran nuclear deal, and will avoid repetition. But with the June 30 deadline fast approaching (although it may be extended), and with Hillary certain to be pressed on whether she supports the deal and will urge Congress not to disapprove it, I wanted to share a few thoughts.

1. This could well be a voting issue for many moderates in the Jewish community. The mainstream organized leadership will almost certainly oppose the deal, along with Israel and all the Republican candidates, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, and perhaps Egypt.

2. While we cannot be sure until there is a final agreement, it appears that many of the open issues since the preliminary accord, may be resolved in Iran’s favor:

(1) Enriched uranium will stay in Iran for dilution, rather than be sent to Russia or France for reprocessing.

(2) Sanctions will not be phased-out commensurate with compliance, as the US Fact Sheet indicated after the last “agreement”, but may come off more quickly. This will transfer billions to Iran and enhance its funding for terrorism and its efforts to gain hegemony in the region.

(3) It is not clear what Iran will be required to do on PMD, if anything. This was required of Iraq by the UNSC in September 2002. Iran should be held to the same standard. They have yet to answer 11 of the 12 IAEA questions, yet UN sanctions will be lifted.

(4) Russia, China and Iran itself may be able to block “snapback” sanctions if there is a violation of the agreement. US companies will be disadvantaged compared to European companies, since many US non-nuclear sanctions will remain, while all EU sanctions are nuclear-related.

(5) Military sites (Parchin) are likely to be off the table for inspections.

(6) Iran will likely be able to do research on advanced centrifuges, which enrich more uranium more rapidly than the current generation. This would markedly reduce the breakout time in the last years of the accord. Presidenr Obama has conceded this point (e.g. David Sanger article in NYT, April 8, 2015)

(7) Iran will have an industrial size nuclear program, and will be left as a “nuclear capable state”.

(8) Iran will be able to keep 1000 centrifuges at Fordo.

(9) Nothing in the agreement will limit its support for terrorism.

3. That said, there are likely to be positive aspects to the agreement.

(1) The Arak plutonium plant will be effectively dismantled.

(2) There will be more intrusive IAEA inspections, since Iran will sign the Additional Protocol of thr NPT.

(3) The number of centrifuges will be cut by 2/3.

(4) Iran will be a year away from breakout. It would still need to develop a nuclear weapon that can fit on a missile.

(5) Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium from 10 tons to 700 pounds.

(6) Ten years is a long time and Iran’s conduct may moderate.

4, Hillary cannot oppose the agreement given her position as the President’s Secretary of State and should urge its approval by Congress under Corker-Cardin. But she can and should point out concerns with it (as she did, unfortunately from my perspective, on TPP/TPA). More broadly, she should appear more muscular I her approach than the President’s. The statement I suggested a few months ago still would be appropriate. But she should also say the following:

(1) As President, she would never consider Iran a strategic partner in the region. Quite the contrary, she would do all she can to oppose Iranian misconduct.

(2) Our allies in the region must know that we will stand behind them and supply them with the means to defend themselves and avoid the region tilting to Iran, including bunker-busting bombs Bush and Obama refused to provide to Israel.. Defense treaties should be considered so any attack by Iran would be considered an attack against the US.

(3) Bibi should be invited for early talks on how the partnership with Israel can be strengthened to combat Iran and Israel’s other avowed enemies.

(4) A common agenda should be forged with Israel and our Arab allies.

(5) If the US itself believes Iran has cheated, as President, she would reimpose US sanctions, even if Russia-China-Iran say there was no violation. She would work to get the EU to also reimpose their sanctions.

(6) It is just as unacceptable for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon after the expiration of the agreement, as it is during the agreement, given the nature of the regime. Therefore, while she would not be president, all means should be used to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

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