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Nuclear Experts on Details of Blueprint

The following are excerpted reactions from nuclear experts to the parameters for a comprehensive nuclear deal announced on April 2 by Iran and the world’s six major powers.

Anthony H. Cordesman
Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
 
[T]he proposed parameters and framework in the Proposed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has the potential to meet every test in creating a valid agreement over time of the kind laid out earlier in the Burke Chair analysis circulated on March 30. It can block both an Iranian nuclear threat and a nuclear arms race in the region, and it is a powerful beginning to creating a full agreement, and creating the prospect for broader stability in other areas.
—April 2, 2015 in a statement
 
Olli Heinonen
Senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former chief inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency
 
“It appears to be a fairly comprehensive deal with most important parameters.” But he cautioned that “Iran maintains enrichment capacity which will be beyond its near-term needs.”
—April 2, 2015 to The New York Times
 
Daryl Kimball
Arms Control Association Executive Director
 
The parameters agreed upon by the United States, the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany with the Islamic Republic of Iran “promises to lead to one of the most consequential and far reaching nuclear nonproliferation achievements in recent decades.”
—April 2, 2015 in a statement
 
Gary Samore
Executive Director for Research at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
and former senior director for nonproliferation and export controls under the Clinton administration
 
“I think that [the negotiators] were able to specify enough detail in this agreement to justify the effort to continue another three months and try to complete a comprehensive agreement.”
—April 2, 2015 to The Daily Beast
 
Greg Thielmann
Senior fellow of the Arms Control Association and former intelligence analyst at the Department of State
 
Once fully negotiated and launched, this deal will block off the options Iran currently has for moving quickly to build nuclear weapons. And the benefits of the deal will extend beyond the particulars of preventing an Iranian bomb. It will also strengthen the worldwide authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in implementing safeguards on the peaceful development of nuclear energy and give impetus toward the goal of universality in enhanced verification measures such as the IAEA's "Additional Protocol."
—April 5, 2015 in an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
Matthew Bunn
Professor at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former adviser on nonproliferation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
 
The Lausanne approach would effectively take the option of racing to the bomb at the known, inspected facilities off the table for Iran, with a combination of limits and inspections that offer high confidence that any such effort would be noticed in plenty of time for the world to act – whether or not it precisely meets the Obama administration’s goal of ensuring that it would take Iran a full year to make the material for a bomb at these facilities.
 
Several provisions also increase the chance that any secret sites would be found in time. Cutting Iran’s stock of enriched uranium to just a few hundred kilograms would mean a secret site would need to be much bigger or take much longer to make material for a bomb, making it easier to detect and stop. Inspectors would have access to Iran’s stocks of extra centrifuges and key centrifuge parts, and the places where such parts are made – and all of Iran’s imports of such parts would be declared and monitored, so that any illicit procurement would be a violation of the pact.
—April 5, 2015 in The National Interest
 
Joe Cirincione
President of Ploughshares Fund
 
The agreement does three things. It blocks all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb. It imposes tough inspections to catch Iran should it try to break out, sneak out or creep out of the deal. And it keeps our coalition united to enforce the deal.
 
Under this deal, Iran has agreed to rip out two-thirds of its centrifuges and cut its stockpile of uranium gas by 97 percent. It will not be able to make any uranium or plutonium for a bomb. Many of the restrictions in the agreement continue for 25 years and some — like the inspections and the ban on building nuclear weapons — last forever.
—April 3, 2015 in The New York Daily News
 
George Perkovich
Director of the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
 
“What was announced today, at least in the U.S. fact sheet, is a very positive development and represents significant progress. Something particularly positive was on the inspections side, where it talks about monitoring the whole supply chain of the Iranian nuclear program. That’s a very big deal. Related to that is that Iran will basically declare and dedicate a procurement channel so everything that needs to be imported for their nuclear program would go through this channel. This greatly eases the monitoring requirement—it comes through a reported channel and then it’s much easier to track it to facilities and monitor at these facilities. It also means that if the IAEA gets intelligence that there is procurement outside of that channel, by definition, that would be a violation of the agreement and have consequences.”
—April 2, 2015 in statement
 
Mark Hibbs
Senior associate in the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
 
On April 2, more substance was made known by negotiators than most observers had anticipated. Most of the details, however, were voiced by Western negotiators and leaders, or expressed in a US “fact sheet” that may or may not precisely represent Iranian understandings. If Iran is on board with all of the US State Department’s bullet points, then a final agreement based on these may indeed go far to limit the threat posed by Iran’s latent nuclear-capable status for a decade or more: Most of Iran’s enriched uranium would be withdrawn from Iran; Iran’s route to significant amounts of weapon-grade plutonium would be effectively blocked; the powers would have their thumbs over Iran’s procurement activities; and the IAEA would have explicit authority to reach deep into Iran’s nuclear program.
 
Shortly after Iran and the powers concluded the Joint Plan of Action in November 2013, Iran challenged the US “fact sheet” on that preliminary accord as having misrepresented Iran’s understandings, so caution should prevail about whether Iran’s April 2 positions match those of Western powers.

—April 2, 2015 for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Frank von Hippel
Professor in Princeton University’s Science and International Security Program
 
“There are still details to be filled in, but I like it a lot.”
“On transparency, it looks like they really are doing a lot.”
—April 3, 2015 to McClatchy
 
The P5+1 Nuclear Agreement With Iran: A Net-Plus for Nonproliferation
 
 
April 6, 2015
 
The framework agreement announced by the P5+1 and Iran is--from a nuclear nonproliferation and security standpoint--a vitally important step forward. When implemented, it will put in place an effective, verifiable, enforceable, long-term plan to guard against the possibility of a new nuclear-armed state in the Middle East.
 
The agreement comprehensively addresses the key routes by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons. Among other steps, the framework agreement will:
  • significantly reduce Iran's capacity to enrich uranium to the point that it would take at least 12 months to amass enough uranium enriched to weapons grade for one bomb;
  • require Iran to modify its Arak heavy water reactor to meaningfully reduce its proliferation potential and bar Iran from developing any capability for separating plutonium from spent fuel for weapons;
  • put in place enhanced international inspections and monitoring that would help to deter Iran from attempting to violate the agreement, but if Iran did, increase the international community's ability to detect promptly and, if necessary, disrupt future efforts by Iran to build nuclear weapons, including at potential undeclared sites; and
  • require Iran to cooperate with the IAEA to conclude the investigation of Iran's past efforts to develop a nuclear warhead and provide transparency sufficient to help ensure that any such effort remains in abeyance.
The agreement will strengthen U.S. security and that of our partners in the region.
 
Rigorous monitoring measures will remain in place not just throughout the long duration of the agreement but even after the core limits of the agreement expire, helping ensure that any movement toward nuclear weapons will be detected and providing the opportunity to intervene decisively to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
 
Moreover, the agreement reduces the likelihood of destabilizing nuclear weapons competition in the Middle East, and strengthens global efforts to prevent proliferation, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
 
We urge the P5+1 and Iranian negotiators to promptly finalize the remaining technical details and we urge policy makers in key capitals to support the deal and the steps necessary to ensure timely implementation and rigorous compliance with the agreement.
 
Endorsed by:
 
James Acton, Co-director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
 
Amb. Brooke D. Anderson, former Chief of Staff and Counselor for the White House National Security Council, and former Alternative Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs
 
Dr. Bruce Blair, Research Scholar, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University*
 
Dr. Barry Blechman, co-founder, Stimson Center*
 
Prof. Matthew Bunn, Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom,Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
 
Joseph Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund
 
Toby Dalton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
 
Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association
 
Dr. Sidney Drell, Stanford University*
 
Robert J. Einhorn, former U.S. Department of State Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control and former negotiator on the Iran nuclear talks
 
Prof. Steve Fetter, former Assistant Director at-large, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
 
Robert L. Gallucci, Georgetown University
 
Ellie Geranmayeh, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations*
 
Ilan Goldenberg, former Iran Team Chief, Office of the Secretary of Defense
 
R. Scott Kemp, assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, former science advisor to the State Department's Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control
 
Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
 
Michael Krepon, co-founder, The Stimson Center*
 
Dr. Edward P. Levine, retired senior professional staff member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
 
Richard Nephew, former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State, and Director for Iran on the National Security Staff
 
Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey*
 
Amb. Thomas R. Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the Russian Federation, India, Israel, and Jordan
 
George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
 
Paul R. Pillar, Former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia
 
William Potter, Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey*
 
Prof. Scott D. Sagan, Senior Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University
 
Sharon Squassoni, Senior Fellow and Director, Proliferation Prevention Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies*
 
Tariq Rauf, Director Disarmament, Arms Control & Non-Proliferation Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)* and former Head of Verification & Security Policy Coordination reporting to the IAEA Director General
 
Dr. James Walsh, Research Associate at the Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 
Dr. Ali Vaez, Senior Analyst on Iran, International Crisis Group
 
Prof. Frank von Hippel, former Assistant Director for National Security, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
*Institution listed for identification purposes only.  
 
The Iran Project Statement on the Announcement of a Framework for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement with Iran
 
 
We welcome the announcement that the U.S. government and other major world powers have reached a framework accord to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. 
 
This achievement is the result of the sustained effort of the Foreign Ministers of seven governments spanning nearly 18 months, to put in place a set of constraints and inspections that would limit Iran’s nuclear program to peaceful purposes. 
 
  • While technical details are still to be fully resolved, important U.S. objectives have been achieved:
  • uranium enrichment only at the Natanz plant and no enrichment at theunderground facility at Fordow;
  • prohibition of the Arak heavy water research reactor from producing weaponsgrade plutonium or reprocessing to recover plutonium from spent fuel;
  • a reduction and then a limit on Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium to 300 KG for 15 years; broad and sweeping inspections and other constraints;
  • a two-thirds reduction in installed centrifuges for ten years; a range oflimitations and inspections that will be in force over a 10-25 year period andsome permanent inspections of the program. 
 
We recognize that full evaluation must await a final comprehensive agreement.Important, difficult, and ambiguous issues still remain. Their resolution will be key tothe solidity of the final agreement and its support in this country. They include:
 
  • what means will be used to limit the stockpile of Iran’s enriched uranium to300 Kg of LEU for 15 years;
  • how the existing UNSC resolutions sanctioning Iran will be replaced by aresolution or resolutions that creates an approved procurement channel andplaces restrictions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles;
  • what will be the set of measures that will address the IAEA’s concernsregarding the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s program;
  • what scale of uranium enrichment will be possible for Iran after ten years;
  • what will be the relationship between the lifting of sanctions and Iran’s performance;
  • what is the system for evaluating the severity of violations of the agreement andhow would they trigger the snap-back of sanctions.
 
The framework will be examined and interpreted differently in the United States and Iran over the next three months. These negotiations have been among the most complex diplomatic efforts in recent history. Nevertheless, we believe the framework represents important progress toward our goal of blocking an Iranian nuclear weapon.
 
In view of this hopeful progress, we call on the U.S. Congress to take no action that would impede further progress or undermine the American negotiators’ efforts to complete the final comprehensive agreement on time. The Congress should examine the announced framework, asking itself whether the potential for a comprehensive, verifiable accord is preferable to the current standoff with Iran or other alternatives as a means to ensure that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon. 
 
We, the undersigned, have devoted our careers to the peace and security of the United States in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Presidents and Congresses over the past 20 years have joined in a bipartisan policy of sanctioning and isolating Iran to bring it to the negotiating table and prevent nuclear proliferation. There has been bipartisan understanding that the U.S. would lead any negotiations to test Iran’s seriousness. Both political parties can deservedly take credit for bringing us to this moment. 
 
We urge a renewed bipartisan effort based on the following principles:
 
First, before members of Congress or its committees decide to act on this matter, we urge them to hold hearings so that the framework can be fully discussed and debated. Congress should be closely involved in the oversight, monitoring and enforcement of the implementation of a final agreement. The Executive Branch should consult regularly with Congress so that it can play its important role in implementation. After a final agreement is reached, Congress will play a central role, as removal of most sanctions will require Congressional action.
 
Second, a decision to exert more pressure and sanctions now would most likely cause the negotiations to be broken off and rule out a final agreement.
 
Third, members of Congress and America’s leaders have an obligation to their nation to review the consequences of undermining the ongoing negotiations or blocking the chances of reaching a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The repercussions could be grave, including creating the perception that the U.S. is responsible for the collapse of the agreement; unraveling international cooperation on sanctions; and triggering the unfreezing of Iran's nuclear program and the rapid ramping up of Iranian nuclear capacity. Such a situation could enhance the possibility of war.
 
Finally, we hope that the Administration will place the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in a strategic context by assuring America’s partners, especially Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, that the U.S. remains strongly committed to their security and that it will continue to take a firm stance against threatening Iranian actions in the region. 
 
We will continue to work with others – skeptics and supporters alike – to support a balanced, objective, and bipartisan approach to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon — one that enhances U.S. national security and that of our friends and allies of the region.
 

Signed by:

Madeleine Albright, fmr Sec State
Graham Allison
Michael Armacost, Amb
Samuel R. Berger, fmr NSA
Zbigniew Brzezinski, fmr NSA
Nicholas Burns, Amb 
James Cartwright, Gen
Stephen Cheney, BrigGen 
Joseph Cirincione
Chester A. Crocker
Ryan C. Crocker, Amb
Suzanne DiMaggio 
James Dobbins, Amb
Robert Einhorn 
William J. Fallon, Adm
Michèle Flournoy
Leslie H. Gelb 
William Harrop, Amb
Stephen B. Heintz
Carla A. Hills 
James Hoge
Nancy L. Kassebaum, Sen
Frank Kearney, LTG
Daniel C. Kurtzer, Amb
Carl Levin, Sen 
Winston Lord, Amb 
William Luers, Amb
 
Richard Lugar, Sen 
Jessica T. Mathews 
William G. Miller, Amb
Richard Murphy, Amb 
Vali Nasr 
Joseph Nye
Eric Olson, Admiral
George Perkovich 
Thomas R. Pickering, Amb
Paul R. Pillar
Nicholas Platt, Amb 
Joe R. Reeder 
William A. Reinsch 
J. Stapelton Roy, Amb
Barnett Rubin
Gary Samore
Brent Scowcroft, fmr NSA
Joe Sestak, RADM
Gary Sick 
Jim Slattery, Congressman 
Anne-Marie Slaughter 
James Stavridis, Adm 
James Walsh
Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Col 
Timothy E. Wirth, Sen
Frank G. Wisner, Amb 
Anthony C. Zinni, Gen

Obama Backs Nuke Plan in Weekly Address

On April 4, President Barack Obama expressed support for the nuclear framework that was announced by the world’s six major powers and Iran on April 2. “Today we have an historic opportunity to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons in Iran, and to do so peacefully, with the international community firmly behind us,” he said in his weekly address. The following is a video and transcript of the address.

This week, together with our allies and partners, we reached an historic understanding with Iran, which, if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon and make our country, our allies, and our world safer.
 
This framework is the result of tough, principled diplomacy.  It’s a good deal—a deal that meets our core objectives, including strict limitations on Iran’s program and cutting off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.
 
This deal denies Iran the plutonium necessary to build a bomb.  It shuts down Iran’s path to a bomb using enriched uranium.  Iran has agreed that it will not stockpile the materials needed to build a weapon.  Moreover, international inspectors will have unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear program because Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world.  If Iran cheats, the world will know it.  If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it.  So this deal is not based on trust, it’s based on unprecedented verification. 
 
And this is a long-term deal, with strict limits on Iran’s program for more than a decade and unprecedented transparency measures that will last for 20 years or more.  And as a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon.
 
In return for Iran’s actions, the international community, including the United States, has agreed to provide Iran with phased relief from certain sanctions. If Iran violates the deal, sanctions can be snapped back into place.  Meanwhile, other American sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program, all will continue to be enforced.        
 
As I said this week, many key details will need to be finalized over the next three months, and nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed.  And if there is backsliding, there will be no deal.
 
Here in the United States, I expect a robust debate.  We’ll keep Congress and the American people fully briefed on the substance of the deal.  As we engage in this debate, let’s remember—we really only have three options for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program: bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities—which will only set its program back a few years—while starting another war in the Middle East; abandoning negotiations and hoping for the best with sanctions—even though that’s always led to Iran making more progress in its nuclear program; or a robust and verifiable deal like this one that peacefully prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
 
As President and Commander in Chief, I firmly believe that the diplomatic option—a comprehensive, long-term deal like this—is by far the best option.  For the United States.  For our allies.  And for the world.
 
Our work—this deal—is not yet done.  Diplomacy is painstaking work.  Success is not guaranteed.  But today we have an historic opportunity to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons in Iran, and to do so peacefully, with the international community firmly behind us.  And this will be our work in the days and months ahead in keeping with the best traditions of American leadership.
 

Iran Nuclear Plan: Iranians Celebrate

In Iran, celebrations broke out in the streets immediately following the announcement of the blueprint for a nuclear deal and continued the following day.

Tags: Offbeat

Iran Nuclear Plan: Israel Reacts

The following are excerpted statements by Israeli officials on the nuclear framework that was announced by the world’s six major powers and Iran on April 2.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 

Interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
 
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I'm not trying to kill any deal. I'm trying to kill a bad deal. And you say it's a historic decision, a historic deal, it could be historically bad deal. Because it leaves the preeminent terrorist state of our time with a vast nuclear infrastructure. Remember, not one centrifuge is destroyed, thousands of centrifuges will be left spinning uranium.
 
Not a single facility, including underground facilities, nuclear facilities, is being shut down. This is a deal that leaves Iran with the capacity to produce the material for many, many nuclear bombs, and it does so by lifting the sanctions pretty much up front.
So Iran will have billions of dollars flown to its coffers not for schools or hospitals or roads, but to pump up its worldwide terror machine and its military machine, which is busy conquering the Middle East as we speak. The preeminent terrorist state of our time should not have access to a vast nuclear capability that will ultimately give them nuclear weapons. That's a concern for Israel, for the region, for the peace of the world.
 
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you this, though. You have a deal that was negotiated by the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, all of them on one side of this deal. You're on the other. Are you concerned that Israel's being isolated from the world community on this issue?
 
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: No, I don't. Look, the entire world celebrated the deal with North Korea. It was deemed to be a great breakthrough, it would bring an end to North Korea's nuclear program. You would have inspectors that would do the job. And of course, everybody applauded it. But it turned out to be a very, very bad deal. And you know where we are with North Korea.
 
I think the same thing would be true in the case of Iran, except that Iran is a great deal more dangerous than North Korea. It's a militant, Islamic power, built on regional corporate domination. In fact, bent on world domination, as it openly says so. They just chanted, "Death to America," a few days ago on the streets of Tehran, the same streets where there is rejoicing right now. Don't give the preeminent terrorist state of our time the access to a nuclear program that could help them make nuclear weapons. It's very bad for all of us.
 
CHUCK TODD: Well, you, in 2012, contemplated, there were reports that you contemplated asking your cabinet for permission to potentially strike Iran's nuclear facilities. Do you still plan on keeping that option open even if a deal is implemented by the United Nations and by the United States?
 
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Chuck, I'm the only Israeli left standing who never talks about our military options. But I will say this, I prefer a diplomatic solution. You know why? Because for any military option, the country that will pay the biggest price is always Israel. So we want a diplomatic solution, but a good one. One that rolls back Iran's nuclear infrastructure and one that ties the final lifting of restrictions on Iran's nuclear program with a change of Iran's behavior.
 
Namely that they stop their aggression in the region, that they stop their worldwide terrorism, and that they stop calling for and working for the annihilation of Israel. These are the requirements that there's still time to put in place. And I'll use what means I have, including this program, to try to persuade people to go for this deal, which is the only one that will give us peace and security.
 
CHUCK TODD:
Would you advise Saudi Arabia and Egypt right now to pursue their own nuclear program, given the way this deal looks in your eyes?
 
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: No, I wouldn't advise them to do that, Chuck. But I think that despite the spoken words, there's enormous concerns throughout the Sunni states in the region. And I think one of the unfortunate, even tragic results of this deal, if it goes through, is that it would spark an arms race among the Sunni race, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. And the Middle East crisscrossed with nuclear tripwires is a nightmare for the world. I think this deal is a dream deal for Iran and it's a nightmare deal for the world.
 
CHUCK TODD: There have been plenty reports about Israel's nuclear deterrent strategy. Do you believe that in an ideal situation, no Middle Eastern country would have nuclear weapons?
 
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: In an ideal situation, you wouldn't have countries seeking to annihilate the state of Israel and openly saying that. By the way, an Iranian general said that four days ago, on the eve of the announcement of this framework in Lausanne, the commander of the besieged forces in Tehran says, "The destruction of Israel is non-negotiable."
 
So I think the real problem in the Middle East is not the democracy of Israel that has shown restraint and responsibility, but it's countries like Iran that pursue nuclear weapons with the explicit goal first of annihilating us, but also ultimately of conquering the Middle East and threatening you.
 
That's why they're developing ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles that are meant for one purpose only, to carry nuclear payloads to a theater near you. They're not intended for us. They already have missiles that reach us. They're developing ICBMs to reach the United States. Don't give them these weapons. Don't give them nuclear ICBMs with which they can threaten you.
 
CHUCK TODD: It sounds like you want the U.S. Congress to do everything in its power to kill this deal. Is that what you'd like them to do?
 
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I'd like the United States and the other members of the P5+1 to get a better deal. There's still time. It's time you can ratchet up the sanctions. Look, biting sanctions were imposed for the first time only in 2012. That got Iran within 18 months to the table.
 
Once you got to the table, instead of ratcheting up the sanctions and the pressures, in fact, you reduce the pressure. And Iran's told, "No need to make any concessions at all. You have time to insist on a better deal and to ratchet up the pressure." That's the preferable route for all of us.
—April 5 2015 on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
 
Interview on ABC’s “This Week”
 
MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST: Prime Minister, why do you think President Obama and John Kerry would want an agreement that, as you say, threatens the survival of Israel and paves the path to a bomb?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, I'm -- it's more they think it's a good deal, but we differ. I think this is a -- a bad deal. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure. It lifts the sanctions on them fairly quickly and enables them to get billions of dollars into their coffers. They're not going to use it for schools or hospitals or roads, Martha, they're going to use it to pump up their terror machine worldwide and their military machine that is busy conquering the Middle East now.

And third, it's a temporary deal. That is, whatever restrictions are placed on Iran's nuclear program, they're removed after a few years and Iran will be free to have a vast arsenal with which to, uh, ultimately produce many nuclear bombs.

I think for the preeminent terrorist state of our time to have a free path, an easy pass to nuclear weapons endangers Israel, endangers the region, endangers the world, it endangers everyone listening to me right now.

RADDATZ: Do you think President Obama is just too trusting?

NETANYAHU: Look, I think we have a legitimate difference of view. And I think that it's not only my own concerns. I think that the real concerns in the region, whatever is stated publicly as such, that if Iran is given this free path to the tomb, a deal that doesn't block Iran's path to nuclear weapons, but actually paves it, what will happen is that this will spark a nuclear arms race among the Sunni countries in the Middle East. And that would have -- a nuclear-armed Middle East, I think that's a global danger. I think it's very, very bad.

RADDATZ: What will you do to try to stop this? What will you do for the next three months?

NETANYAHU: Well, first of all, I think there is still time to reach a good deal, a better deal. And I think what is required is to hold firm, to increase the pressures until a better deal is achieved, one that significantly rolls back Iran's nuclear infrastructure and one that doesn't lift the restrictions on Iran -- on Iran's nuclear program until they stop their aggression in the region, until they stop their terrorism worldwide.

RADDATZ: The United States says it will be phased in. That hasn't even really been decided.

NETANYAHU: Well, it's never even been on the table, nor have ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, that they can use to propel their nuclear weapons to any part of the world, including the United States.

Nothing has been asked of Iran, to change its aggressive and terrorist policies, nothing. And I think it's important to change the deal, to toughen up the deal, to get a better deal, because we all prefer to find a solution, but it has to be the right one.

RADDATZ: How can you get a deal that Iran would accept? The U.S. and others who have been dealing for years, and you've got other players involved in this now. How can you get a deal that they would accept?

NETANYAHU: Martha, I think that what they don't accept today, they can accept tomorrow. If I told you two years ago that Syria's Bashar al-Assad would accept a deal that takes out all the chemicals for Syria, that takes out all the chemical weapons from Syria, just takes it out, not leave inspectors or beefed up inspectors to inspect what is there but actually take out the whole stuff, you would have said that's unrealistic. And you know what...

RADDATZ: Would you consider unilateral air strikes?

NETANYAHU: Well, first, let me say that we prefer a peaceful solution. How did you get a peaceful solution in Syria? You ratcheted up the pressure. And when Syria saw that that -- those pressures were raining down on them, they agreed to what was not agreed before. The same could be true with Iran.

RADDATZ: So would you threaten unilateral air strikes to Iran?

NETANYAHU: I never talk about our military option or anyone else's. The United States says that it has a military option on the table. But equally -- and I think no less effective -- have been the crippling sanctions that have only been applied swine 2012, crippling financial and economic sanctions, especially on the oil sector. And with the drop in oil, those sanctions have become even more effective. That's what got Iran to the table in the first place. And then, once they're at the table, why let up on those sanctions? In fact, that's the time to increase the pressure and to get tomorrow what you can't get today.
—April 5 2015 on ABC's "This Week"

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz 
 
The smiles in Lausanne are detached from wretched reality in which Iran refuses to make any concessions on the nuclear issue and continues to threaten Israel and all other countries in the Middle East.” 
 
At a time when the representatives of the world powers were shaking hands with the Iranians in Lausanne, Iran continues its campaign of occupation and terror in Yemen and throughout the Middle East. We will continue in our efforts to explain and convince the world in the hopes of preventing a bad deal, or at least introducing changes and improvements.” 
—April 2, 2015 in a statement 
 
“It [the military option] was on the table. It’s still on the table. It’s going to remain on the table,” Steinitz told reporters. “Israel should be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. And it’s our right and duty to decide how to defend ourselves, especially if our national security and even very existence is under threat.”
 
“It might become a much better deal and a more comprehensive and trusted deal than it is today. This is a bad deal.”
—April 6, 2015 according to the press
 
Chief Spokesperson for the Prime Minister Mark Regev
 

"This framework (agreement) is a step in a very, very dangerous direction." 
 
"Not only does it leave Iran with an expensive nuclear infrastructure but it fails to shut down even a single Iranian nuclear installation. It leaves Iran with thousands of centrifuges to continue to enrich uranium." 
 
"It allows Iran to conduct research and development to build new and better centrifuges." 
—April 3, 2015, according to the press 
 
Economics Minister Naftali Bennett 
 
“The world’s most radical Islamic terror regime received today an official kosher stamp for its illicit nuclear program. This is a regime that cannot be trusted, and which has already violated consecutive U.N. resolutions. Today’s deal paves the way for Iran to eventually obtain a nuclear weapon, to further destabilize the Middle East and to continue spreading terror across the globe.” 
—April 2, 2015 in a statement
 

Member of the Knesset Yair Lapid

“There is no opposition and coalition when it comes to the Iranian nuclear issue.”

“We all share the concern that the Iranians will bypass [the agreement], and Israel must protect its security interests. The ayatollah regime in Iran has been engaged in years of fraud and deception and promotes its nuclear program under the nose of the West."
 
"There is no basis for determining that today Iran was prevented from achieving nuclear weapons. Israel should cooperate with the United States and the international community to ensure that there is no case of deception which endangers Israel's security and the security of the world."
—April 3, 2015, according to the press 
 

Members of the Knesset Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni

"We are entering a new phase in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat...We must remember that the main part is yet to come and we must ensure that the final agreement will set the Iranian nuclear program back so as to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons and to ensure Israel's security interests."
—April 
3, 2015, according to the 
press


Member of the Knesset Yariv Levin (Likud), head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
 
"The agreement, which is based on deception, will turn Iran into a nuclear threshold state and give an unprecedented boost to Iran's efforts to take control of large parts of the Middle East."
"Given the blindness of Western leaders, Israel will continue to fight in a determined manner to halt the Iranian nuclear program and fight the radical Islamic terrorism sponsored by it."
—April 3, 2015, according to the press

Iran Nuclear Plan: Tehran Reacts

The following are excerpted statements by Iranian officials on the nuclear framework that was announced by the world’s six major powers and Iran on April 2.

President Hassan Rouhani
 
“This will open a new chapter in cooperation with the world…
 
All of us should be after an agreement based on a win-win approach, common respect and common goals. Some think we should either fight with the world or give in to the powers. We believe there is a third option – a solution. We can cooperate with the world…
 
If others respect us, they will receive the same respect from our side. There should be respect in order to receive respect. Sanctions and pressures are worthless. This indicates that the administration’s approach has been the right one...
 
The objective that we’ve achieved today has been due to our unity and solidarity. We have consulted with all the officials and authorities and always benefitted from the guidelines of the leader of the revolution. He has generously provided us with the guidelines. I deem it necessary here to appreciate the leader and the head of the three branches of government…In the next step we need their support… “
—April 3, 2015 in a speech
 
 
“We have never negotiated the suspension of sanctions and if it were the case, there would be no agreement.”
 
“The world knows that there is no way but to [reach] agreement and understanding with Iran because the great, courageous and resistant Iranian people have stood by their ideals despite hardships.”
 
The world has come to the realization that Iran will not “yield to pressure and sanctions.”
 
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has never sought to invade any country…but we will defend ourselves against anybody who intends to encroach upon the people’s rights.”
—April 5, 2015 in a meeting with a group of senior officials
 
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
 

Good evening ladies and gentleman. Let me again thank you all for having followed our work. We’ve done significant work. If we look back at recent history, and if we succeed, we’ve taken a major step, but we’re still some time away from reaching where we want to be. If we succeed, this will be one of the few cases where an issue is resolved through diplomatic means, an issue of significance. And that would require an approach that would concentrate on a non-zero sum outcome, a win-win outcome. And that was my country’s approach to this from the very beginning.

We appreciate the work that every delegation has put to this. We have done significant work. We have made achievements. We have made progress. We have decided to take steps for a period of time to assure who had concerns, which we thought those concerns were misplaced anyway, that our program is exclusively peaceful, has always been and will always remain exclusively peaceful. Those--None of those measures include closing any of our facilities. The proud people off Iran would never accept that. Our facilities will continue. We will continue enriching. We will continue research and development. Our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordo facility. We will have, as you will hear, centrifuges installed in Fordo but not enriching. We will remain committed to the agreement and we will not enrich in Fordo. We will continue, we will focus our enrichment in Natanz. And we will do other activities while keeping our centrifuges in Fordo for a time that we have agreed.   
 
At the same time, all Security Council resolutions will be terminated. All U.S. nuclear-related secondary sanctions as well as E.U. sanctions will be terminated -- while the term of art for each case may be terminate implementation or cease implementation or terminate application, whatever the word may be, so that people will not get into trouble with the legal institutions. But the effect of which will be, when we implement our measures, there won't be no sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

And that, I think, would be a major step forward. We have stopped a cycle that was not in the interest of anybody. Not in the interest of non-proliferation and not in the interest of anybody to one that will, in fact, be a gain for all parties concerned. And I hope that at the end of this process we will all show that true dialogue and engagement with dignity we can, in fact, resolve problems, open new horizons and move forward.
—April 2, 2015 at a press conference in Lausanne, Switzerland

 

 

—April 4, 2015 in an interview on national television
 
“I have told the western diplomats that Iran is capable of making an atom bomb anytime it wills, but the one and only fact that has stopped us from doing so is Ayatollah Khamenei’s Fatwa (an Islamic legal pronouncement) and not the sanctions and pressures levied at the country."
—April 7, 2015 in a briefing to parliament
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi
 
“[T]he language of threat and sanctions is not acceptable to us and the world has come to the conclusion that no threat and sanctions will work on the Iranian nation.”
“Iran’s nuclear program, including enrichment [activities], has been recognized in the recent statement in Lausanne and it is not seen as a threat anymore.”
—April 3, 2015 in a televised interview according to Press TV
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Mortea Sarmadi
 
“We have agreed on certain limitations which will not leave any impact on the normal course of our nuclear program; we have only excluded those parts that could cause concern in the international community. We have stopped 20%-grade uranium enrichment since we don’t need it for now.”
—April 6, 2015 during a visit to Tunisia via Anadolu news agency and Fars News
 
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi
 
“We have agreed that Iran must join an international consortium so that the nuclear waste which poses a great environmental risk to Iran and the world as a whole to be safely transported out of the country."
—April 7, 2015 in a briefing to parliament

Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari
 
“The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps thanks the diplomacy machine for its sincere efforts and for its insistence on the red lines of the establishment.
 
“But, we are certain, as the esteemed president and foreign minister and members of the negotiating team have said the right to enrich uranium and maintain nuclear research and development and have all relevant sanctions lifted are the central demands of the Iranian people.
 
“In light of the idea of harmony and unanimity between the public and government, the Iranian people will support the diplomatic front as far as the nuclear issue is concerned and won’t allow the misleading interpretations of the [Lausanne] statement, particularly by the Americans, to dent the existing trust between them and their government.”
—April 7, 2015 in a meeting with IRGC commanders (translation via Iran Front Page)
 
Chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi
 
“The Americans have acknowledged this (right) and the US president in his statement officially announced that they endorse Iran's enrichment.

“What Iran wanted eventually took place despite the plans proposed by the U.S., China and Russia; the Arak Heavy Water Reactor will continue to produce plutonium."
—April 5, 2015 in a statement
 
Basij Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi
 
“The comments made after the Lausanne negotiations once again showed the United States’ strong grudge against the Iranians and proved that the US officials are liars and untrustworthy.
 
“After 9 days of breathtaking nuclear negotiations in Lausanne, the US president and other officials now deny the principal agreements and present opposing interpretations.
 
“They cite Iran’s undertakings, but fabricate and deny the commitments that they have made to the Iranian delegation.
 
“The Americans do not want to lose their main pressure leverage, and they are in a rush to strike a deal because inefficiency of the sanctions is growing increasingly evident, and in the near future no one would comply with them.”
—April 6, 2015 in an address to Basij militia personnel
 
Kazzem Jalili, head of Parliament’s Research Center
 
“We should be concerned about the attitude of the westerners because the wall of mistrust has grown so tall inside Iran; we remember the Sa’adabad agreement, the modal plan [of action between Iran and the IAEA] and the like that all show the other side has not fulfilled its commitment.”
 
“We should not pay heed to the Western propaganda … ; rather we should only show care for the written text.”
—April 5, 2015 to reporters
 
Member of Parliament Ali Motahari
 
The deal framework represents a “new stage in the life of the Islamic Revolution, and I hope that the signing of the final deal will be in the interests of the people of Iran, and brings about economic prosperity.”
—April 2015 according to the press
 
Member of Parliament Gholam-Ali Jafarzade
 
""The AEOI chief told the closed-door session of the parliament today that the Islamic Republic of Iran has acquired such a (high level of) power in the nuclear technology that this very power has forced the western side to see no way out but sitting to the negotiating table with Iran."

—April 7, 2015 according to the press

Photo credit: President.ir

 

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