United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Obama on War and Peace

Robin Wright (for The New Yorker)

President Obama was in a reflective mood when he met with a group of journalists at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after he delivered a combative speech defending the Iran deal. He is, in private meetings, a congenial stoic, even as he chews Nicorette gum to stay ahead of an old vice.
 

 

Click here to read the full article in The New Yorker.

Open Letters in Support of Deal: Scientists, Generals & Ambassadors

Groups of scientists, nonproliferation specialists, former generals and former ambassadors have authored open letters in support of the nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six major powers.

On August 8, 29 top U.S. scientists wrote to President Barack Obama in support of the Iran nuclear deal. The “innovative agreement” has “much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework,” according to the co-signers, who include six Nobel laureates, nuclear experts and former White House advisers. The following is the complete text.

Dear Mr. President,
 
As scientists and engineers with understanding of the physics and technology of nuclear power and of nuclear weapons, we congratulate you and your team on the successful completion of the negotiations in Vienna. We consider that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the United States and its partners negotiated with Iran will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future non-proliferation agreements.
 
This is an innovative agreement, with much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework. It limits the level of enrichment of the uranium that Iran can produce, the amount of enriched uranium it can stockpile, and the number and kinds of centrifuges it can develop and operate. The agreement bans reconversion and reprocessing of reactor fuel, it requires Iran to redesign its Arak research reactor to produce far less plutonium than the original design, and specifies that spent fuel must be shipped out of the country without the plutonium being separated and before any significant quantity can be accumulated.
 
A key result of these restrictions is that it would take Iran many months to enrich uranium for a weapon. We contrast this with the situation before the interim agreement was negotiated in Lausanne: at that time Iran had accumulated enough 20 percent enriched uranium that the required additional enrichment time for weapons use was only a few weeks.
 
The JCPOA also provides for innovative approaches to verification, including monitoring of uranium mining, milling, and conversion to hexafluoride. Centrifuge manufacturing and R&D will be monitored as well. For 15 years the Natanz facility will be the only location where uranium enrichment is allowed to take place and it will be outfitted with real-time monitoring to assure rapid notice of any violation. The authority is provided for real-time monitoring of spent fuel as well.
 
Concerns about clandestine activities in Iran are greatly mitigated by the dispute resolution mechanism built into the agreement. The 24-day cap on any delay to access is unprecedented, and will allow effective challenge inspection for the suspected activities of greatest concern: clandestine enrichment, construction of reprocessing or reconversion facilities, and implosion tests using uranium. The approach to resolving “Possible Military Dimensions” is innovative as well: the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must be satisfied that it is fully informed about any previous activities, in order to guide its future verification plans, but Iran need not be publicly shamed. This agreement, also for the first time, explicitly bans nuclear weapons R&D, rather than only their manufacture as specified in the text of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
 
Some have expressed concern that the deal will free Iran to develop nuclear weapons without constraint after ten years. In contrast we find that the deal includes important long-term verification procedures that last until 2040, and others that last indefinitely under the NPT and its Additional Protocol. On the other hand, we do believe that it would be valuable to strengthen these durable international institutions. We recommend that your team work with the IAEA to gain agreement to implement some of the key innovations included in the JCPOA into existing safeguards agreements. This will reduce the proliferation risks associated with national fuel cycle facilities worldwide. Thus in the future, when Iran is treated the same as all non-nuclear weapons states with nuclear energy programs, all such programs will be more stringently constrained and verified.
 
As you have stated, this deal does not take any options off the table for you or any future president. Indeed it will make it much easier for you or a future president to know if and when Iran heads for a bomb, and the detection of a significant violation of this agreement will provide strong, internationally supported justification for intervention.
 
In conclusion, we congratulate you and your team on negotiating a technically sound, stringent and innovative deal that will provide the necessary assurance in the coming decade and more that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, and provides a basis for further initiatives to raise the barriers to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and around the globe.
 
Sincerely,
Richard L. Garwin, IBM Fellow Emeritus
Robert J. Goldston, Princeton University
R. Scott Kemp, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Rush Holt, American Association for the Advancement of Science Frank von Hippel, Princeton University
John F. Ahearne, Director, Ethics Program at Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
Philip W. Anderson, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University
Christopher Chyba, Princeton University
Leon N. Cooper, Brown University
Pierce S. Corden, Former Director, Office of International Security Negotiations, Bureau of Arms Control: Department of State
John M. Cornwall, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, UCLA
Sidney D. Drell, Stanford University
Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University
Harold A. Feiveson, Princeton University
Michael E. Fisher, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University and University of Maryland
Howard Georgi, Harvard University
Sheldon L. Glashow, Boston University
Lisbeth Gronlund, Union of Concerned Scientists
David Gross, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, UCSB
Sigfried S. Hecker Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University
Martin E. Hellman, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University
Ernest Henley, University of Washington
Gregory Loew, Emeritus Deputy Director and Professor, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
C. Kumar N. Patel, Professor Emeritus of Experimental Condensed Matter, UCLA
Burton Richter, Stanford University
Myriam Sarachik, City College of New York, CUNY
Roy F. Schwitters, The University of Texas at Austin
Frank Wilczek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Wright, Union of Concerned Scientists
 
Click here for a PDF version.  
 
On July 16, more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors sent the following letter to President Obama in support of the agreement:
 
Letter to the President from over 100 former American Ambassadors on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s Nuclear Program
 
Dear Mr. President:
 
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran stands as a landmark agreement in deterring the proliferation of nuclear weapons. If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East. Without your determination and the admirable work of Secretary of State Kerry and his team, this agreement would never have been reached.
As former American diplomats, we have devoted much of our lives to ensuring that the President had available the best possible diplomatic approaches to dealing with challenges to our nation’s security, even while recognizing that a strong military is essential to help the President and the Congress to carry out their duties to protect the nation and its people. Effective diplomacy backed by credible defense will be critically important now, during the period of inspection and verification of Iran’s compliance with the agreement.
 
The JCPOA touches on some of America’s most important national objectives: non proliferation and the security of our friends in the Middle East particularly Israel. Ensuring the cooperation and implementation of this agreement by a hostile nation will require constant, dedicated U.S. leadership and unflagging attention.
 
We recognize that the JCPOA is not a perfect or risk-free settlement of this problem. However, we believe without it, the risks to the security of the United States and our friends and allies would be far greater. We are satisfied that the JCPOA will put in place a set of constraints and inspections that can assure that Iran’s nuclear program during the terms of the agreement will remain only for peaceful purposes and that no part of Iran is exempt from inspection. As with any negotiated settlement, the most durable and effective agreement is one that all sides will commit to and benefit from over the long term.
 
We support close Congressional involvement in the oversight, monitoring and enforcement of this agreement. Congress must be a full partner in its implementation and must evaluate carefully the value and feasibility of any alternative that would claim better to protect U.S. security and more effectively to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. In particular, Congress must give careful attention to evaluating whether alternatives would be more or less likely to narrow the options for resolving this issue without the use of force.
 
In our judgment the JCPOA deserves Congressional support and the opportunity to show it can work. We firmly believe that the most effective way to protect U.S. national security, and that of our allies and friends is to ensure that tough-minded diplomacy has a chance to succeed before considering other more costly and risky alternatives.
 
With respect,
 
Amb. (ret.) Diego C. Asencio, Ambassador to Colombia and Brazil
Amb. (ret.) Adrian Basora, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia
J. Brian Atwood, Administrator of USAID and Under Secretary of State for Management
Amb. (ret.) William M. Bellamy, Ambassador to Kenya
Amb. (ret.) John R. Beyrle, Ambassador to Russia and Bulgaria
Amb. (ret.) James Keough Bishop, Ambassador to Niger, Liberia and Somalia
Amb. (ret.) Barbara K. Bodine, Ambassador to Yemen
Amb. (ret.) Avis Bohlen, Assistant Secretary for Arms Control
Amb. (ret.) Eric J. Boswell, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security
Amb. (ret.) Stephen Bosworth, Ambassador to the Republic of Korea
Amb. (ret.) Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia
Amb. (ret.) Kenneth C. Brill, Ambassador to the IAEA, UN and founder of the U.S. National Counterproliferation Center
Amb (ret.) Kenneth L. Brown, Ambassador to Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ghana
Amb. (ret.) A. Peter Burleigh, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Amb. (ret.) Nicholas Burns, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador to Greece and NATO
Amb. (ret.) James F. Collins, Ambassador to the Russian Federation and Ambassador at Large for the New Independent States
Amb. (ret.) Edwin G. Corr, Ambassador to Peru, Bolivia and El Salvador
Amb. (ret.) William Courtney, Commissioner, Bilateral Consultative Commission to implement the Threshold Test Ban Treaty
Amb. (ret.) Ryan Crocker, Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait, and Lebanon
Amb. (ret.) James B. Cunningham, Ambassador to Israel, Afghanistan and the United Nations
Amb. (ret.) Walter L. Cutler, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Tunisia
Amb. (ret.) Ruth A. Davis, Ambassador to the Republic of Benin and Director General of the Foreign Service
Amb. (ret.) John Gunther Dean, Ambassador to India
Amb. (ret.) Shaun Donnelly, Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Amb. (ret.) Harriet L. Elam-Thomas, Ambassador to Senegal
Amb. (ret.) Theodore L. Eliot Jr., Ambassador to Afghanistan
Amb. (ret.) Nancy Ely-Raphel, Ambassador to Slovenia
Amb. (ret.) Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Assistant Secretary of Defense and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Amb. (ret.) Robert Gallucci, Ambassador at Large
Amb. (ret.) Robert S. Gelbard, President’s Special Representative for the Balkans
David C. Gompert, former Acting Director of National Intelligence
Amb. (ret.) James E. Goodby, Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Security and Dismantlement, and Ambassador to Finland
Amb. (ret.) Marc Grossman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Ambassador to Turkey
Amb. (ret.) Brandon Grove, Director Foreign Service Institute
Amb. (ret.)William Harrop, Ambassador to Israel, Guinea, Kenya, and Seychelles
Amb. (ret.) Ulric Haynes, Jr. Ambassador to Algeria
Amb. (ret.) Donald Hays, Ambassador to the United Nations
Amb. (ret.) Heather M. Hodges, Ambassador to Ecuador and Moldova
Amb. (ret.) Karl Hofmann, Ambassador to Togo
Amb. (ret.) Thomas C. Hubbard, Ambassador to the Republic of Korea
Amb. (ret.) Vicki Huddleston, Ambassador to Mali and Madagascar
Thomas L. Hughes, former Assistant Secetary of State for Intelligence and Research
Amb. (ret.) Dennis Jett, Ambassador to Mozambique and Peru
Amb. (ret.) Beth Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia
Amb. (ret.) James R. Jones, Ambassador to Mexico and formerly Member of Congress and White House Chief of Staff
Amb. (ret.) Theodore Kattouf, Ambassador to Syria and United Arab Emirates
Amb. (ret.) Richard D. Kauzlarich, Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Amb. (ret.) Kenton W. Keith, Ambassador to Qatar
Amb. (ret.) Roger Kirk, Ambassador to Romania and Somalia
Amb. (ret.) John C. Kornblum, Ambassador to Germany and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
Amb. (ret.) Eleni Kounalakis, Ambassador to Hungary
Amb. (ret.) Daniel Kurtzer, Ambassador to Israel and Egypt
Amb. (ret.) Bruce Laingen, Chargé d’Affaires in Tehran (1979)
Frank E. Loy, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs
Amb. (ret.) William Luers, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Venezuela
Amb. (ret.) Princeton N. Lyman, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
Amb. (ret.) John F. Maisto, Ambassador to Organization of American States, Venezuela, Nicaragua
Amb. (ret.) Jack Matlock, Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Special Assistant to the President for National Security
Amb. (ret.) Donald F. McHenry, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Amb. (ret.) Thomas E. McNamara, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Ambassador to Colombia, and at Large for Counterterrorism
Amb. (ret.) William B. Milam, Ambassador to Pakistan and Bangladesh
Amb. (ret.) Tom Miller, Ambassador to Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina
Amb. (ret.) George E. Moose, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador to Benin, Senegal
Amb. (ret.) Cameron Munter, Ambassador to Pakistan and Serbia
Amb. (ret.) Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Amb. (ret.) Ronald E. Neumann, Ambassador to Afghanistan, Algeria, and Bahrain
Amb. (ret.) Thomas M. T. Niles, Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Canada and Ambassador to Greece
Phyllis E. Oakley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Intelligence and Research
Amb. (ret.) W. Robert Pearson, Ambassador to Turkey
Amb. (ret.) Robert H. Pelletreau, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affair
Amb. (ret.) Pete Peterson, Ambassador to Vietnam
Amb. (ret.) Thomas Pickering, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador to Israel, Russia, India, United Nations, El Salvador, Nigeria and Jordan
Amb. (ret.) Joan M. Plaisted, Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Kitibati
Amb. (ret.) Nicholas Platt, Ambassador to Pakistan, Philippines, and Zambia
Amb. (ret.) Anthony Quainton, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic security or Director General of the Foreign Service
Amb. (ret.) Robin L. Raphel, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia
Amb. (ret.) Charles A. Ray, Ambassador to Zimbabwe and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs
Amb (ret.) Arlene Render, Ambassador to The Gambia, Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire
Amb. (ret.) Julissa Reynoso, Ambassador to Uruguay
Amb. (ret.) Francis J. Ricciardone, Ambassador to Egypt, Turkey, the Philippines, and Palau
Amb. (ret.) Rozanne L. Ridgway, Assistant Secretary for Europe and Canada and Counselor of the Department
Amb. (ret.) Peter F. Romero, Assistant Secretary of State
Amb. (ret.) Theodore Sedgwick, Ambassador to Slovakia
Amb. (ret.) J. Stapleton Roy, Ambassador to China and Indonesia
Amb. (ret.) William A. Rugh, Ambassador to Yemen and the United Arab Emirates
Amb. (ret.) Janet A Sanderson, Ambassador to Algeria and Haiti
Amb. (ret.) Teresita C. Schaffer, Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Amb. (ret.) Howard B. Schaffer, Ambassador to Bangladesh
Amb. (ret.) Raymond G. H. Seitz, Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Amb. (ret.) John Shattuck, Ambassador to the Czech Republic
Amb. (ret.) Ronald I. Spiers, Ambassador to Pakistan, Turkey and Assistant Secretary for Politico-Military Affairs
Amb. (ret.) William Lacy Swing, Ambassador to South Africa, Nigeria, Haiti, Congo-DRC, Liberia, and Republic of Congo
Amb. (ret.) Patrick Nickolas Theros, Ambassador to the State of Qatar
Arturo A. Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Amb. (ret.) William J. Vanden Heuvel, Deputy Permanent United States Representative to the United Nations
Amb. (ret.) Nicholas A. Veliotes, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Amb. (ret.) Richard N. Viets, Ambassador to Jordan
Amb. (ret.) Edward S. Walker, Jr., Ambassador to Israel, Egypt and United Arab Emirates
Amb. (ret.) Alexander F. Watson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Ambassador to Peru
Amb. (ret.) Melissa Wells, Ambassador to Estonia, DRC-Congo, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau
Amb. (ret.) Philip C. Wilcox Junior, Ambassador at Large for Counter Terrorism
Molly K. Williamson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Defense, and Commerce
Amb. (ret.) Frank Wisner, Ambassador to India, Egypt, the Philippines and Zambia, and Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs
Amb. (ret.) John Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation
Amb. (ret.) Kenneth Yalowitz, Ambassador to Belarus and Georgia
 
On August 11, three dozen retired generals and admirals released the following letter:
 
The Iran Deal Benefits U.S. National Security
An Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals
 
On July 14, 2015, after two years of intense international negotiations, an agreement was announced by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia to contain Iran’s nuclear program. We, the undersigned retired military officers, support the agreement as the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
 
The international deal blocks the potential pathways to a nuclear bomb, provides for intrusive verification, and strengthens American national security. America and our allies, in the Middle East and around the world, will be safer when this agreement is fully implemented. It is not based on trust; the deal requires verification and tough sanctions for failure to comply.
 
There is no better option to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. Military action would be less effective than the deal, assuming it is fully implemented. If the Iranians cheat, our advanced technology, intelligence and the inspections will reveal it, and U.S. military options remain on the table. And if the deal is rejected by America, the Iranians could have a nuclear weapon within a year. The choice is that stark.
 
We agree with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who said on July 29, 2015, “[r]elieving the risk of a nuclear conflict with Iran diplomatically is superior than trying to do that militarily.”
 
If at some point it becomes necessary to consider military action against Iran, gathering sufficient international support for such an effort would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance. We must exhaust diplomatic options before moving to military ones.
 
For these reasons, for the security of our Nation, we call upon Congress and the American people to support this agreement.
GEN James “Hoss” Cartwright, U.S. Marine Corps
GEN Joseph P. Hoar, U.S. Marine Corps GEN Merrill “Tony” McPeak, U.S. Air Force
GEN Lloyd W. "Fig" Newton, U.S. Air Force
LGEN Robert G. Gard, Jr., U.S. Army LGEN Arlen D. Jameson, U.S. Air Force LGEN Frank Kearney, U.S. Army
LGEN Claudia J. Kennedy, U.S. Army LGEN Donald L. Kerrick, U.S. Army LGEN Charles P. Otstott, U.S. Army LGEN Norman R. Seip, U.S. Air Force LGEN James M. Thompson, U.S. Army VADM Kevin P. Green, U.S. Navy VADM Lee F. Gunn, U.S. Navy
MGEN George Buskirk, US Army
MGEN Paul D. Eaton, U.S. Army
MGEN Marcelite J. Harris, U.S. Air Force MGEN Frederick H. Lawson, U.S. Army
MGEN William L. Nash, U.S. Army MGEN Tony Taguba, U.S. Army
RADM John Hutson, U.S. Navy
RADM Malcolm MacKinnon III, U.S. Navy
RADM Edward "Sonny" Masso, U.S. Navy
RADM Joseph Sestak, U.S. Navy
RADM Garland “Gar” P. Wright, U.S. Navy
BGEN John Adams, U.S. Air Force
BGEN Stephen A. Cheney, U.S. Marine Corps
BGEN Patricia "Pat" Foote, U.S. Army BGEN Lawrence E. Gillespie, U.S. Army BGEN John Johns, U.S. Army
BGEN David McGinnis, U.S. Army BGEN Stephen Xenakis, U.S. Army RDML James Arden "Jamie" Barnett, Jr., U.S. Navy
RDML Jay A. DeLoach, U.S. Navy
RDML Harold L. Robinson, U.S. Navy RDML Alan Steinman, U.S. Coast Guard
 
Click here for a PDF version.
 
 
On August 26, an open letter from nearly 200 retired generals and admirals who oppose the deal was published. It was addressed to Speaker of the House John A. Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.  
 
Letter to Congressional Leadership from Nearly 200 Retired Generals and Admirals
 
Dear Representatives Boehner and Pelosi and Senators McConnell and Reid:
 
As you know, on July 14, 2015, the United States and five other nations announced that a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reached with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. In our judgment as former senior military officers, the agreement will not have that effect. Removing sanctions on Iran and releasing billions of dollars to its regime over the next ten years is inimical to the security of Israel and the Middle East. There is no credibility within JCPOA’s inspection process or the ability to snap back sanctions once lifted, should Iran violate the agreement. In this and other respects, the JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.
 
The agreement as constructed does not “cut off every pathway” for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. To the contrary, it actually provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal. JCPOA allows all the infrastructure the Iranians need for a nuclear bomb to be preserved and enhanced. Notably, Iran is allowed to: continue to enrich uranium; develop and test advanced centrifuges; and continue work on its Arak heavy-water plutonium reactor. Collectively, these concessions afford the Iranians, at worst, a ready breakout option and, at best, an incipient nuclear weapons capability a decade from now.
 
The agreement is unverifiable. Under the terms of the JCPOA and a secret side deal (to which the United States is not privy), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be responsible for inspections under such severe limitations as to prevent them from reliably detecting Iranian cheating. For example, if Iran and the inspectors are unable to reach an accommodation with respect to a given site, the result could be at least a 24-day delay in IAEA access. The agreement also requires inspectors to inform Iran in writing as to the basis for its concerns about an undeclared site, thus further delaying access. Most importantly, these inspections do not allow access to Iranian military facilities, the most likely location of their nuclear weapons development efforts. In the JCPOA process, there is substantial risk of U.S. intelligence being compromised, since the IAEA often relies on our sensitive data with respect to suspicious and/or prohibited activity.
 
While failing to assure prevention of Iran’s nuclear weapons development capabilities, the agreement provides by some estimates $150 billion dollars or more to Iran in the form of sanctions relief. As military officers, we find it unconscionable that such a windfall could be given to a regime that even the Obama administration has acknowledged will use a portion of such funds to continue to support terrorism in Israel, throughout the Middle East and globally, whether directly or through proxies. These actions will be made all the more deadly since the JCPOA will lift international embargoes on Iran’s access to advanced conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology.
 
In summary, this agreement will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies. In our professional opinion, far from being an alternative to war, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action makes it likely that the war the Iranian regime has waged against us since 1979 will continue, with far higher risks to our national security interests. Accordingly, we urge the Congress to reject this defective accord.
 
Sincerely,
 
1. Admiral David Architzel, US Navy, Retired
2. Admiral Stanley R. Arthur, US Navy, Retired
3. General William Begert, US Air Force, Retired
4. General J.B. Davis, US Air Force, Retired
5. Admiral William A. Doughert, US Navy, Retired
6. Admiral Leon A. “Bud” Edney, US Navy, Retired
7. General Alfred G. Hansen US Air Force, Retired
8. Admiral Thomas Hayward, US Navy, Retired
9. Admiral James Hogg, US Navy, Retired
10. Admiral Jerome Johnson, US Navy, Retired
11. Admiral Timothy J. Keating, US Navy, Retired
12. Admiral Robert J. Kelly, US Navy, Retired
13. Admiral Thomas Joseph Lopez, US Navy, Retired
14. Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons, US Navy, Retired
15. Admiral Richard Macke, US Navy, Retired
16. Admiral Henry Mauz, US Navy, Retired
17. General Lance Smith, US Air Force, Retired
18. Admiral Leighton Smith, US Navy, Retired
19. Admiral William D. Smith, US Navy, Retired
20. General Louis C. Wagner, Jr., US Army, Retired
21. Admiral Steve White, US Navy, Retired
22. General Ronald W. Yates, US Air Force, Retired
 
23. Lieutenant General Teddy G. Allen, US Army, Retired
24. Lieutenant General Edward G. Anderson, III, US Army, Retired
25. Lieutenant General Marcus A. Anderson, US Air Force, Retired
26. Lieutenant General Spence M. Armstrong, US Air Force, Retired
27. Lieutenant General Harold W. Blot, US Marine Corps, Retired
28. Vice Admiral Michael Bowman, US Navy, Retired
29. Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin, US Army, Retired
30. Vice Admiral Edward S. Briggs, US Navy, Retired
31. Lieutenant General Richard E. “Tex” Brown III, US Air Force, Retired
32. Lieutenant General William J. Campbell, US Air Force, Retired
33. Vice Admiral Edward Clexton, US Navy, Retired
34. Vice Admiral Daniel L. Cooper, US Navy, Retired
35. Vice Admiral William A. Dougherty, US Navy, Retired
36. Lieutenant General Brett Dula, US Air Force, Retired
37. Lieutenant General Gordon E. Fornell, US Air Force, Retired
38. Lieutenant General Thomas B. Goslin, US Air Force, Retired
39. Lieutenant General Earl Hailston, US Marine Corps, Retired
40. Vice Admiral Bernard M. Kauderer, US Navy, Retired
41. Lieutenant General Timothy A. Kinnan, US Air Force, Retired
42. Vice Admiral J. B . LaPlante, US Navy, Retired
43. Vice Admiral Tony Less, US Navy, Retired
44. Lieutenant General Bennett L. Lewis, US Army, Retired
45. Vice Admiral Michael Malone, US Navy, Retired
46. Vice Admiral John Mazach, US Navy, Retired
47. Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, US Air Force, Retired
48. Lieutenant General Fred McCorkle, US Marine Corps, Retired
49. Vice Admiral Robert Monroe, US Navy, Retired
50. Vice Admiral Jimmy Pappas, US Navy, Retired
51. Vice Admiral J. Theodore Parker, US Navy, Retired
52. Lieutenant General Garry L. Parks, US Marine Corps, Retired
53. Lieutenant General Everett Pratt, US Air Force, Retired
54. Vice Admiral John Poindexter, US Navy, Retired
55. Lieutenant General Clifford "Ted" Rees, Jr., US Air Force, Retired
56. Vice Admiral William Rowden, US Navy, Retired
57. Vice Admiral Robert F. Schoultz, US Navy, Retired
58. Lieutenant General E.G. “Buck” Shuler, Jr., US Air Force, Retired
59. Lieutenant General Hubert 'Hugh" G. Smith, US Army, Retired
 
60. Vice Admiral Edward M. Straw, US Navy, Retired
61. Lieutenant General David J. Teal, US Air Force, Retired
62. Vice Admiral D.C. "Deese" Thompson, US Coast Guard, Retired
63. Lieutenant General William E. Thurman, US Air Force, Retired
64. Lieutenant General Billy Tomas, US Army, Retired
65. Vice Admiral John Totushek, US Navy, Retired
66. Vice Admiral Jerry Tuttle, US Navy, Retired
67. Vice Admiral Jerry Unruh, US Navy, Retired
68. Vice Admiral Timothy W. Wright, US Navy, Retired
 
69. Rear Admiral William V. Alford, Jr., US Navy, Retired
70. Major General Thurman E. Anderson, US Army, Retired
71. Major General Joseph T. Anderson, US Marine Corps, Retired
72. Rear Admiral Philip Anselmo, US Navy, Retired
73. Major General Joe Arbuckle, US Army, Retired
74. Rear Admiral James W. Austin, US Navy, Retired
75. Rear Admiral John R. Batzler, US Navy, Retired
76. Rear Admiral John Bayless, US Navy, Retired
77. Major General John Bianchi, US Army, Retired
78. Rear Admiral Donald Vaux Boecker, US Navy, Retired
79. Rear Admiral Jerry C. Breast, US Navy, Retired
80. Rear Admiral Bruce B. Bremner, US Navy, Retired
81. Major General Edward M. Browne, US Army, Retired
82. Rear Admiral Thomas F. Brown III, US Navy, Retired
83. Rear Admiral Lyle Bull, US Navy, Retired
84. Major General Bobby G. Butcher, US Marine Corps, Retired
85. Rear Admiral Jay A. Campbell, US Navy, Retired
86. Major General Henry D. Canterbury, US Air Force, Retired
87. Major General Carroll D. Childers, US Army, Retired
88. Rear Admiral Ronald L. Christenson, US Navy, Retired
89. Major General John R.D. Cleland, US Army, Retired
90. Major General Richard L. Comer, US Air Force, Retired
91. Rear Admiral Jack Dantone, US Navy, Retired
92. Major General William B. Davitte, US Air Force, Retired
93. Major General James D. Delk, US Army, Retired
94. Major General Felix Dupre, US Air Force, Retired
95. Rear Admiral Philip A. Dur, US Navy, Retired
96. Major General Neil L. Eddins, US Air Force, Retired
97. Rear Admiral Paul Engel, US Navy, Retired
98. Major General Vince Falter, US Army, Retired
99. Rear Admiral James H. Flatley, US Navy, Retired
100. Major General Bobby O. Floyd, US Air Force, Retired
101. Major General Paul Fratarangelo, US Marine Corps, Retired
102. Rear Admiral Veronica "Ronne" Froman, US Navy, Retired
103. Rear Admiral R. Byron Fuller, US Navy, Retired
104. Rear Admiral Frank Gallo, US Navy, Retired
105. Rear Admiral Albert A. Gallotta, Jr., US Navy, Retired
106. Rear Admiral James Mac Gleim, US Navy, Retired
107. Rear Admiral Robert H. Gormley, US Navy, Retired
108. Rear Admiral William Gureck, US Navy, Retired
109. Major General Gary L. Harrell, US Army, Retired
110. Rear Admiral Donald Hickman, US Navy, Retired
111. Major General Geoffrey Higginbotham, US Marine Corps, Retired
112. Major General Kent H. Hillhouse, US Army, Retired
113. Rear Admiral Tim Hinkle, US Navy, Retired
114. Major General Victor Joseph Hugo, US Army, Retired
115. Major General James P. Hunt, US Air Force, Retired
116. Rear Admiral Grady L. Jackson, US Navy, Retired
117. Major General William K. James, US Air Force, Retired
118. Rear Admiral John M. “Carlos” Johnson, US Navy, Retired
119. Rear Admiral Pierce J. Johnson, US Navy, Retired
120. Rear Admiral Steven B. Kantrowitz, US Navy, Retired
121. Major General Maurice W. Kendall, US Army, Retired
122. Rear Admiral Charles R. Kubic, US Navy, Retired
123. Rear Admiral Frederick L. Lewis, US Navy, Retired
124. Major General John D. Logeman, Jr., US Air Force, Retired
125. Major General Homer S. Long, Jr., US Army, Retired
126. Major General Robert M. Marquette, US Air Force, Retired
127. Rear Admiral Robert B. McClinton, US Navy, Retired
128. Rear Admiral W. J. McDaniel, MD, US Navy, Retired
129. Major General Keith W. Meurlin, US Air Force, Retired
130. Rear Admiral Terrence McKnight, US Navy, Retired
131. Major General John F. Miller, Jr., US Air Force, Retired
132. Major General Burton R. Moore, US Air Force, Retired
133. Rear Admiral David R. Morris, US Navy, Retired
134. Rear Admiral Ed Nelson, Jr., US Coast Guard, Retired
135. Major General George W. "Nordie" Norwood, US Air Force, Retired
136. Major General Everett G. Odgers, US Air Force, Retired
137. Rear Admiral Phillip R. Olson, US Navy, Retired
138. Rear Admiral Robert S. Owens, US Navy, Retired
139. Rear Admiral Robert O. Passmore, US Navy, Retired
140. Major General Richard E. Perraut, Jr., US Air Force, Retired
141. Rear Admiral W.W. Pickavance, Jr., US Navy, Retired
142. Rear Admiral L.F. Picotte, US Navy, Retired
143. Rear Admiral Thomas J. Porter, US Navy, Retired
144. Major General H. Douglas Robertson, US Army, Retired
145. Rear Admiral W.J. Ryan, US Navy, Retired
146. Rear Admiral Norman Saunders, US Coast Guard, Retired
147. Major General John P. Schoeppner, Jr., US Air Force, Retired
148. Major General Edison E. Scholes, US Army, Retired
149. Rear Admiral Hugh P. Scott, US Navy, Retired
150. Major General Richard Secord, US Air Force, Retired
151. Rear Admiral James M. Seely, US Navy, Retired
152. Major General Sidney Shachnow, US Army, Retired
153. Rear Admiral William H. Shawcross, US Navy, Retired
154. Rear Admiral Bob Shumaker, US Navy, Retired
155. Major General Willie Studer, US Air Force, Retired
156. Major General Larry Taylor, US Marine Corps, Retired
157. Rear Admiral Jeremy Taylor, US Navy, Retired
158. Major General Richard L. Testa, US Air Force, Retired
159. Rear Admiral Robert P. Tiernan, US Navy, Retired
160. Major General Paul E. Vallely, US Army, Retired
161. Major General Kenneth W. Weir, US Marine Corps, Retired
162. Major General John Welde, US Air Force, Retired
163. Rear Admiral James B. Whittaker, US Navy, Retired
164. Major General Geoffrey P. Wiedeman, Jr., MD, US Air Force, Retired
165. Rear Admiral H. Denny Wisely, US Navy, Retired
166. Brigadier General John R. Allen, Jr., US Air Force, Retired
167. Brigadier General John C. Arick, US Marine Corps, Retired
168. Brigadier General Loring R. Astorino, US Air Force, Retired
169. Rear Admiral Robert E. Besal, US Navy, Retired
170. Brigadier General William Bloomer, US Marine Corps, Retired
171. Brigadier General George P. Cole, Jr., US Air Force, Retired
172. Brigadier General Richard A. Coleman, US Air Force, Retired
173. Brigadier General James L. Crouch, US Air Force, Retired
174. Rear Admiral Marianne B. Drew, US Navy, Retired
175. Brigadier General Philip M. Drew, US Air Force, Retired
176. Brigadier General Larry K. Grundhauser, US Air Force, Retired
177. Brigadier General Thomas W. Honeywill, US Air Force, Retired
178. Brigadier General Gary M. Jones, US Army, Retired
179. Brigadier General Stephen Lanning, US Air Force, Retired
180. Brigadier General Thomas J. Lennon, US Air Force, Retired
181. Rear Admiral Bobby C. Lee, US Navy, Retired
182. Brigadier General Robert F. Peksens, US Air Force, Retired
183. Brigadier General Joe Shaefer, US Air Force, Retired
184. Brigadier General Graham E. Shirley, US Air Force, Retired
185. Brigadier General Stanley O. Smith, US Air Force, Retired
186. Brigadier General Hugh B. Tant III, US Army, Retired
187. Brigadier General Michael Joseph Tashjian, US Air Force, Retired
188. Brigadier General William Tiernan, US Marine Corps, Retired
189. Brigadier General Roger W. Scearce, US Army, Retired
190. Brigadier General Robert V. Woods, US Air Force, Retired

 

 
 

On August 17, more than 70 of the world’s leading nuclear nonproliferation specialists issued the following joint statement in support of the deal.


The Comprehensive P5+1 Nuclear Agreement With Iran:
A Net-Plus for Nonproliferation

 
Statement from Nuclear Nonproliferation Specialists
August 17, 2015
 
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a strong, long-term, and verifiable agreement that will be a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts.
 
It advances the security interests of the P5+1 nations (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union, their allies and partners in the Middle East, and the international community.
 
When implemented, the JCPOA will establish long-term, verifiable restrictions on Iran's enrichment facilities and research and development, including advanced centrifuge research and deployment. Taken in combination with stringent limitations on Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile, these restrictions ensure that Iran’s capability to produce enough bomb-grade uranium sufficient for one weapon would be extended to approximately 12 months for a decade or more.
 
Moreover, the JCPOA will effectively eliminate Iran’s ability to produce and separate plutonium for a nuclear weapon for at least 15 years, including by permanently modifying the Arak reactor, Iran’s major potential source for weapons grade plutonium, committing Iran not to reprocess spent fuel, and shipping spent fuel out of the country.
 
The JCPOA is effectively verifiable. The agreement will put in place a multi-layered monitoring regime across Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, including centrifuge manufacturing sites (for 20 years), uranium mining and milling (for 25 years), and continuous monitoring of a larger number of nuclear and nuclear-related sites.
 
The JCPOA requires Iran to implement and ratify the additional protocol to Iran’s comprehensive safeguards agreement, which significantly enhances the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) inspection regime. Among other measures, this will give international inspectors timely access to any Iranian facility of proliferation concern, including military sites, which the JCPOA will ensure cannot be stalled more than 24 days without serious consequences.
 
In addition, the JCPOA puts in place safeguards that require early notification of design changes or new nuclear projects by Iran (the modified code 3.1 provision). The additional protocol and code 3.1 monitoring and verification measures will remain in place indefinitely.
 
The JCPOA also requires that Iran cooperate with the IAEA to conclude its long-running investigation of Iran's past activities with possible military dimensions (PMDs) and permanently prohibits certain dual-use activities, which could contribute to the design and development of a nuclear explosive device.
 
Taken together, these rigorous limits and transparency measures will make it very likely that any future effort by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, even a clandestine program, would be detected promptly, providing the opportunity to intervene decisively to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
 
The agreement requires that Iran undertake major steps—including to reduce its uranium enrichment capacity, modify the Arak reactor, allow for more intrusive international monitoring, and cooperate with the IAEA’s PMD investigation—before UN Security Council, U.S., and EU economic and financial sanctions are suspended or terminated, and it provides for swift consequences in the event of noncompliance.
 
If all sides comply with and faithfully implement their multi-year obligations, the agreement will reduce the risk of a destabilizing nuclear competition in a troubled region – giving time and space to address other regional problems without fear of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons—and head off a catastrophic military conflict over Iran's nuclear program.
 
Though all of us could find ways to improve the text, we believe the JCPOA meets key nonproliferation and security objectives and see no realistic prospect for a better nuclear agreement.
 
We urge the leaders of the P5+1 states, the European Union, and Iran to take the steps necessary to ensure timely implementation and rigorous compliance with the JCPOA.
 
 
Endorsed by:
 
Amb. Nobuyasu Abe, Commissioner of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission* and former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, former Director-General for Arms Control and Science Affairs of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
 
James Acton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
 
John Ahearne, former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
 
Steve Andreasen, former Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council staff (1993-2001) consultant to the Nuclear Threat Initiative*

Dr. Bruce Blair, Research Scholar, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University

Dr. Barry Blechman, Co-Founder, Stimson Center*

Hans Blix, former Director General of the IAEA

Avis Bohlen, former Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, U.S. Department of State
 
Amb. (ret.) Kenneth C. Brill, Ambassador to the IAEA (2001-2004) and Founding Director of the U.S. National Counterproliferation Center (2005-2009)

Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice, Harvard Kennedy School, and former adviser to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Susan F. Burk, former Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, and former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State
 
Sandra Ionno Butcher, Executive Director, Pugwash Conferences on Science & World Affairs (International)*
 
John Carlson, Counselor, Nuclear Threat Initiative, former Director General, Australian Safeguards and Nonproliferation Office

Joseph Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund

Tom Z. Collina, Director of Policy, Ploughshares Fund, and former Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Institute for Science and International Security and the Director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists

Avner Cohen, Professor of Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey*

Philip E. Coyle, former Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
 
Toby Dalton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
 
Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association
 
Amb. Jayantha Dhanapala, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs
 
Amb. Sergio Duarte, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs
 
Robert J. Einhorn, former U.S. Department of State Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control and former negotiator on the Iran nuclear talks
 
Dina Esfandiary, MacArthur Fellow, Centre for Science and Security Studies, Department of War Studies, Kings College London
 
Trevor Findlay, Senior Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
 
Richard L. Garwin, former Chair of the Arms Control and Nonproliferation Advisory Board of the U.S Department of State
 
Ellie Geranmayeh, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations*
 
Ilan Goldenberg, former Iran Team Chief, Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense
 
Dr. Lisbeth Gronlund, Co-Director and Senior Scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
 
Morton H. Halperin, former Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State
 
Laicie Heeley, Fellow, Stimson Center*
 
Paul Ingram, Executive Director, British American Security Information Council
 
Raymond Jeanloz, Chair, National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control*
 
Togzhan Kassenova, Associate, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
 
R. Scott Kemp, assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, former science advisor to the U.S. Department of State’s Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control
 
Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
 
Michael Krepon, Co-Founder, Stimson Center*
 
Ellen Laipson, President and CEO, Stimson Center*
 
Dr. Edward Levine, former Senior Professional Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1997-2011) and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1976-1997)
 
Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey* and Director of East Asia Non-Proliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies*
 
Jan Lodal, former Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense
 
Jessica T. Mathews, Distinguished Fellow, former President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
 
Fred McGoldrick, former Director of the Office of Nonproliferation and Export Policy, U.S. Department of State
 
Oliver Meier, Deputy Head, International Security Division, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)*
 
Dr. Zia Mian, Director of the Project on Peace and Security in South Asia at the Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
 
Adam Mount, Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations*
 
Richard Nephew, former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State, and Director for Iran on the National Security Staff
 
George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
 
Amb. Thomas R. Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Russian Federation, India, Israel, and Jordan
 
Steve Pifer, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, and retired career Foreign Service officer
 
Paul R. Pillar, former U.S. National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia
 
Valerie Plame, former covert CIA operations officer
 
William Potter, Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey*
 
Tariq Rauf, former Head of Verification and Security Policy Coordination, Office reporting to the Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency, and Director of the Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)*
 
Laura Rockwood, Executive Director, Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation,* and former section head for nonproliferation and policymaking in the Office of Legal Affairs of the IAEA (1985-2013)
 
Joan Rohlfing, President and Chief Operating Officer, Nuclear Threat Initiative*
 
Dr. Randy Rydell, former Senior Political Affairs Officer in the Office of the High Representative for Disarmament, United Nations
 
Scott D. Sagan, The Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, Stanford University
 
Thomas Shea, former IAEA Safeguards Official, and former Head of the IAEA Trilateral Initiative Office, and former Sector Head of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Programs, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
 
Shen Dingli, Professor and Director, Program on Arms Control and Regional Security, and Associate Dean, Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
 
Jacqueline Shire, former member of United Nations Panel of Experts (Iran) established under Security Council Resolution 1929 (2010)
 
Leonard S. Spector, Deputy Director, Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies,* and former Assistant Deputy Administrator for Arms Control and Nonproliferation at the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration
 
Sharon Squassoni, Senior Fellow and Director, Proliferation Prevention Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies*
 
Ariane M. Tabatabai, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Security Studies Program at the Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service*
 
Honorable Ellen O. Tauscher, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, U.S. Department of State, seven-term Member of House of Representatives, and Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee (2006-2009)
 
Greg Thielmann, former Director of the Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research
 
Dr. Ali Vaez, Senior Iran Analyst, International Crisis Group
 
Frank von Hippel, former Assistant Director for National Security, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
 
Dr. James Walsh, Research Associate at the Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 
Honorable Andy Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, U.S. Department of Defense
 
Larry Weiler, former Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and a negotiator of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
 
Amb. Joseph Wilson (ret.), former Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton and Senior Director at the National Security Council

Joel S. Wit, Visiting Scholar at U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, Senior Research Fellow at Columbia University Weatherhead Institute for East Asian Studies, and former Coordinator for the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework (1995-1999)

Dr. David Wright, Co-Director and Senior Scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
 
Amb. Norman A. Wulf, U.S. Department of State (ret.), and Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation (1999-2002)
 
*Institution listed for identification purposes only.


Click here for a PDF version.

 

Report: Economic Impact of Sanctions Relief

The Iranian economy will receive a boost from sanctions relief, both from increased trade and recovering billions of dollars in frozen assets. Additionally, Iran’s return to the oil market could cause oil prices to drop by 14 percent, according to the World Bank’s MENA Quarterly Economic Brief, which explores the economic implications of lifting sanctions on Iran. The following is an excerpt of the report.

Iran and the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and Germany (P5+1) reached a deal on July 14, 2015 that limits Iranian nuclear activity in return for lifting all international sanctions that were placed on Iran This issue of the MENA Quarterly Economic Brief (QEB) traces the economic effects of the latter development—removing sanctions on Iran—on the world oil market, on Iran’s trading partners, and on the Iranian economy.
 
The most significant change will be Iran’s return to the oil market. The World Bank estimates that the eventual addition of one million barrels a day (mb/d) from Iran, assuming no strategic response from other oil exporters, would lower oil prices by 14 percent or $10 per barrel in 2016. Oil importers, including the European Union (EU) and United States (US), will gain while oil exporters, especially the Gulf countries, will lose.
 
Secondly, once sanctions and restrictions on financial transactions are relaxed, Iran’s trade, which had both declined in absolute terms and shifted away from Europe towards Asia and the Middle East, will expand. The World Bank estimates that sanctions reduced Iranian exports by $17.1 billion during 2012-14, equivalent to 13.5 percent of total exports in that period. Our analysis suggests that the countries that will see the largest post-sanctions increase in trade with Iran include Britain, China, India, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.
 
Thirdly, the Iranian economy, which was in recession for two years, will receive a major boost from increased oil revenues—conservatively estimated at about $15 billion in the first year—and lower trade costs. In addition, there are estimates that Iran holds about $107 billion worth of frozen assets (including LCs and oil exports earnings) overseas, of which an estimated $29 billion will be released immediately after sanctions removal. Finally, foreign direct investment (FDI), which had declined by billions of dollars following the tightening of sanctions in 2012, is expected to pick up. There has already been some interest shown by foreign multinationals since the April 2015 framework agreement, especially in the oil and gas sectors. The World Bank expects FDI to eventually increase to about $3 - 3.5 billion in a couple of years, double the level in 2015 but still below the peak in 2003.
 
In addition to slowing down, the Iranian economy underwent a structural shift during the sanctions era, with the oil, automobile, construction and financial sectors declining the most. As sanctions are lifted, these sectors are likely to see an expansion of output.
 
All these changes to the economy involve shifting resources from one use to another. The most significant aspect of sanctions relief is that it enables resources to be shifted to where they are more productive, that is, for the economy to produce more efficiently. For example, Iran can now produce and export those goods in which it has a comparative advantage, and import goods in which it does not. In short, sanctions relief can be thought of as an economic windfall to the Iranian economy. The World Bank estimates the size of this windfall as a welfare gain of $13 billion or 2.8 percent of current welfare. Like all windfalls, however, they have to be properly managed in order that they sustainably benefit the population. In particular, as oil revenues enter the economy, the exchange rate will appreciate. While this will make imports cheaper, it will also make nonoil exports less competitive. During the early 2000s, when oil prices were soaring (and sanctions were not restrictive), Iran experienced this phenomenon. Many of the exporting industries suffered. In fact, the only ones that made progress were the petrochemicals and chemicals industries, which received massive subsidies, including subsidies on their consumption of fuel. With the lifting of sanctions, the government of Iran has the opportunity to put in place a policy framework that will enable the economy to make maximum use of this windfall and put the economy on a path of sustained economic growth.
 
Click here for the full report
 

US Treasury: New Guidance on Sanctions

On August 7, the U.S. Treasury issued guidance clarifying that Iran will continue to receive the limited sanctions relief specified by the 2013 interim nuclear deal, known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA). Once the final nuclear deal is implemented – likely not until early 2016 – the Treasury will issue new guidance on sanctions relief. The following are excerpts from the Treasury’s latest sanctions guidance and frequently asked questions.

Guidance relating to the continuation of certain temporary sanctions relief pursuant to the JPOA, prior to implementation of the JCPOA
 
On July 14, 2015, the United States and its partners in the P5 + 1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom, coordinated by the European Union’s High Representative) reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran that will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. The JCPOA builds on the foundation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), achieved in November 2013, and the political framework announced in Lausanne on April 2, 2015. Under the JCPOA, Iran will receive phased sanctions relief once the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifies that Iran has implemented key nuclear-related commitments described in the JCPOA. The date on which sanctions relief under the JCPOA will commence is referred to hereinafter as “Implementation Day.” Prior to Implementation Day, the U.S. Government (USG) will issue guidance related to the implementation of the sanctions relief provided for under the JCPOA.
 
The P5+1 and Iran also decided on July 14, 2015 to further extend through Implementation Day the nuclear commitments and sanctions relief provided for in the JPOA. Accordingly, during the period from January 20, 2014 through Implementation Day (the “JPOA Relief Period”), the USG will implement the limited JPOA relief as set out below. This JPOA sanctions relief is the only Iran-related sanctions relief that will be in effect until Implementation Day.
 
The USG retains the authority to impose sanctions under the authorities outlined below to the extent such activities are materially inconsistent with JPOA sanctions relief as outlined in this guidance. The USG also retains the authority to continue imposing sanctions under other authorities, such as those used to combat terrorism, destabilizing regional activity, and human rights violations. During the JPOA Relief Period, the USG will continue to vigorously enforce our sanctions against Iran, including by taking action against those who seek to evade or circumvent our sanctions.
 
With the exception of civil aviation activities described in section IV and the humanitarian channel described in section VI below, none of the sanctions relief outlined in this guidance may involve a U.S. person, or, as applicable, a foreign entity owned or controlled by a U.S. person, if otherwise prohibited under any sanctions program administered by the USG.
 
Click here to read more
 
Frequently asked questions relating to the continuation of certain temporary sanctions relief pursuant to the JPOA prior to implementation of the JCPOA
 
Q. Will sanctions relief be provided to Iran after the announcement of the JCPOA?
 
Prior to Implementation Day, the only sanctions relief available is the JPOA relief, which was initially provided in January 2014 and has now been extended through Implementation Day. The sanctions relief described in the JCPOA will commence only after the IAEA verifies that Iran has implemented key nuclear-related commitments.
 
2. Q: What types of sanctions relief will be provided to Iran between the announcement of the JCPOA and Implementation Day?
 
On July 14, 2015, the USG committed to continue the sanctions relief provided for under the JPOA through Implementation Day. To implement this relief, the USG will continue to temporarily suspend certain sanctions involving Iran’s purchase and sale of gold and other precious metals, Iran’s export of petrochemical products, Iran’s automotive industry, and certain associated services1 regarding each of the foregoing. The USG will also continue to coordinate with Iran regarding the use of financial channels established in furtherance of the JPOA to facilitate Iran’s import of certain humanitarian goods to Iran, payment of medical expenses incurred by Iranians abroad, payments of Iran’s UN obligations, and payments of $400 million in governmental tuition assistance for Iranian students studying abroad. The USG will also continue its favorable licensing policy in connection with transactions related to the safety of Iran’s civil aviation industry. Finally, the USG will continue to pause efforts to further reduce Iran’s crude oil exports and will enable Iran to access an agreed amount of Restricted Funds2 in installments. Unless otherwise noted, these relief measures do not include transactions with persons on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the SDN List) (http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/default.aspx).
 
The USG will continue to vigorously enforce our sanctions against Iran that are not subject to the limited relief provided pursuant to the JPOA, including by taking action against those who seek to evade or circumvent our sanctions.
 
3. Q: How do the JCPOA and the extension of JPOA relief impact U.S. sanctions on Iran?
 
Except for the limited relief provided pursuant to the JPOA, all U.S. sanctions with respect to Iran, including financial sanctions, sanctions pertaining to the purchase of Iranian crude oil, and sanctions on investment in Iran’s energy and petrochemical sectors, remain in effect with respect to U.S. and non-U.S. persons until Implementation Day. Prior to Implementation Day, the USG will provide additional guidance regarding the phased sanctions relief to be provided under the JCPOA.
 
With certain limited exceptions, the relief provided in the JPOA only pertains to conduct and transactions fully completed during the JPOA Relief Period and involves only certain sanctions on non-U.S. persons not otherwise subject to section 560.215 of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR) (hereinafter “non-U.S. persons not otherwise subject to the ITSR”), as described in more detail in these FAQs.3 U.S. persons and U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities continue to be generally prohibited from conducting transactions with Iran, including any transactions of the types permitted pursuant to the JPOA, unless licensed to do so by OFAC.
 
Click here to read more
 

US Scientists Endorse Deal in Obama Letter

On August 8, 29 top U.S. scientists wrote to President Barack Obama in support of the Iran nuclear deal. The “innovative agreement” has “much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework,” according to the co-signers, who include six Nobel laureates, nuclear experts and former White House advisers. The letter was published by The New York Times amidst an Obama administration campaign to build support for the deal in Congress, which has about a month left to review the agreement. The following is the complete text.

Dear Mr. President,
 
As scientists and engineers with understanding of the physics and technology of nuclear power and of nuclear weapons, we congratulate you and your team on the successful completion of the negotiations in Vienna. We consider that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the United States and its partners negotiated with Iran will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future non-proliferation agreements.
 
This is an innovative agreement, with much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework. It limits the level of enrichment of the uranium that Iran can produce, the amount of enriched uranium it can stockpile, and the number and kinds of centrifuges it can develop and operate. The agreement bans reconversion and reprocessing of reactor fuel, it requires Iran to redesign its Arak research reactor to produce far less plutonium than the original design, and specifies that spent fuel must be shipped out of the country without the plutonium being separated and before any significant quantity can be accumulated.
 
A key result of these restrictions is that it would take Iran many months to enrich uranium for a weapon. We contrast this with the situation before the interim agreement was negotiated in Lausanne: at that time Iran had accumulated enough 20 percent enriched uranium that the required additional enrichment time for weapons use was only a few weeks.
 
The JCPOA also provides for innovative approaches to verification, including monitoring of uranium mining, milling, and conversion to hexafluoride. Centrifuge manufacturing and R&D will be monitored as well. For 15 years the Natanz facility will be the only location where uranium enrichment is allowed to take place and it will be outfitted with real-time monitoring to assure rapid notice of any violation. The authority is provided for real-time monitoring of spent fuel as well.
 
Concerns about clandestine activities in Iran are greatly mitigated by the dispute resolution mechanism built into the agreement. The 24-day cap on any delay to access is unprecedented, and will allow effective challenge inspection for the suspected activities of greatest concern: clandestine enrichment, construction of reprocessing or reconversion facilities, and implosion tests using uranium. The approach to resolving “Possible Military Dimensions” is innovative as well: the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must be satisfied that it is fully informed about any previous activities, in order to guide its future verification plans, but Iran need not be publicly shamed. This agreement, also for the first time, explicitly bans nuclear weapons R&D, rather than only their manufacture as specified in the text of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
 
Some have expressed concern that the deal will free Iran to develop nuclear weapons without constraint after ten years. In contrast we find that the deal includes important long-term verification procedures that last until 2040, and others that last indefinitely under the NPT and its Additional Protocol. On the other hand, we do believe that it would be valuable to strengthen these durable international institutions. We recommend that your team work with the IAEA to gain agreement to implement some of the key innovations included in the JCPOA into existing safeguards agreements. This will reduce the proliferation risks associated with national fuel cycle facilities worldwide. Thus in the future, when Iran is treated the same as all non-nuclear weapons states with nuclear energy programs, all such programs will be more stringently constrained and verified.
 
As you have stated, this deal does not take any options off the table for you or any future president. Indeed it will make it much easier for you or a future president to know if and when Iran heads for a bomb, and the detection of a significant violation of this agreement will provide strong, internationally supported justification for intervention.
 
In conclusion, we congratulate you and your team on negotiating a technically sound, stringent and innovative deal that will provide the necessary assurance in the coming decade and more that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, and provides a basis for further initiatives to raise the barriers to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and around the globe.
 
Sincerely,
Richard L. Garwin, IBM Fellow Emeritus

Robert J. Goldston, Princeton University

R. Scott Kemp, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Rush Holt, American Association for the Advancement of Science Frank von Hippel, Princeton University

John F. Ahearne, Director, Ethics Program at Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

Philip W. Anderson, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University

Christopher Chyba, Princeton University

Leon N. Cooper, Brown University

Pierce S. Corden, Former Director, Office of International Security Negotiations, Bureau of Arms Control: Department of State

John M. Cornwall, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, UCLA

Sidney D. Drell, Stanford University

Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University

Harold A. Feiveson, Princeton University

Michael E. Fisher, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University and University of Maryland

Howard Georgi, Harvard University

Sheldon L. Glashow, Boston University

Lisbeth Gronlund, Union of Concerned Scientists

David Gross, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, UCSB
Sigfried S. Hecker Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Martin E. Hellman, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University

Ernest Henley, University of Washington

Gregory Loew, Emeritus Deputy Director and Professor, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

C. Kumar N. Patel, Professor Emeritus of Experimental Condensed Matter, UCLA

Burton Richter, Stanford University

Myriam Sarachik, City College of New York, CUNY

Roy F. Schwitters, The University of Texas at Austin

Frank Wilczek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

David Wright, Union of Concerned Scientists
 
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