United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

The Final Deal: Tehran Reacts

The following are excerpted remarks from Iranian officials on the final nuclear deal between Iran and the world's six major powers.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

 

President Hassan Rouhani

"The negotiations have earned achievements in addition to the removal of the nuclear sanctions; (at first) it was only decided to remove the nuclear sanctions, but our negotiating team succeeded in the removal of sanctions on planes which were not among the nuclear-related embargos.”
 
"Also, the sanctions on selling food products, including pistachio, and carpet to the US were terminated.”
—July 15, 2015, in a speech to Iranian athletes

 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

 

Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi
 
“When it is time to implement the deal, what the two sides need to do is clear. On one specified day, they will pledge to lift sanctions and we would start to work when they abide by their commitments.”
—July 15, 2015, according to the press
 
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi
 
"All past issues will be resolved completely after Iran and the Agency adopt some measures.”
 
"I hope that a new chapter in relations and cooperation between Iran and the IAEA will start after the settlement of the past issues.”
—July 14, 2015, according to the press
 
"All agreements, including the agreed arrangements for the issue of Parchin, will be implemented while fully observing the country's red lines.”
—July 14, 2015, according to the press
 
Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan
 
"The defense ministry's defense industries has been formed based on self-sufficiency and cutting dependence, and as long as the sanctions or restrictions continue, our defense industries will be able to provide the country's defense needs proportionate to the threats to the country.”
—July 15, 2015, according to the press
 
Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani
 
“The Islamic Republic’s great wisdom in diplomacy managed to convince the international community about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities and this is a great achievement in the history of all these disagreements.”
—July 15, 2015, according to the press
 
Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani
 
"Unfortunately, we are witnessing that immediately after the negotiations, certain parties started different interpretations and spoke of the gradual removal of the sanctions.”
—July 15, 2015, according to the press
 
Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani
 
“We all should appreciate people resistance, guidelines of the Supreme Leader and wisdom of the president in moving the talks forward and its conclusion.”
—July 15, 2015, according to the press
 
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh
 
“After (the implementation) of the agreement, our major work would just begin…The first step is to prepare for increasing (oil) exports.”
—July 16, 2015, according to Iran Front Page
 
“I have already said that we are ready to increase exports by 500.000 barrels daily after sanctions are lifted. After implementation of the agreement, we can add 1.000.000 barrels to the exports and increase it to 2.5 million barrels daily.”
 
“Our priority is development of joint oil and gas fields through local and foreign potentials.”
—July 15, 2015, according to the press
 

Photo credits: Salehi by U.S. Dept of State via Flickr Commons (cropped)

The Final Deal: Khamenei Letter to Rouhani

On July 15, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sent a letter to President Hassan Rouhani expressing gratitude to the negotiating team, one day after Iran and the world's six major powers agreed on a final nuclear deal. But he cautioned that "some" nations involved in the talks are "not trustworthy." The following is the full text of the letter, via Khamenei’s official Twitter account.

Dear Mr. President,
 
With greetings and gratitude for your great efforts, first I would like to extend my intimate gratitude to constant and tireless efforts of the nuclear negotiations team and pray for Divine blessings for them. Further, bringing negotiations to a conclusion was a milestone; the prepared text, however, needs careful scrutiny and must be directed into the defined legal process, and in case of approval, be concerned about possible violation of commitments by the other parties and close paths to it. You are well aware that some of the six states participating in negotiations are not trustworthy at all.
 
I expect our dear nation to maintain unity and dignity so that national interests can be achieved in a peaceful and wisely atmosphere.
 
Sayyid Ali Khamenei
July 15, 2015
 

The Final Deal: The Region Reacts

The announcement of a final nuclear deal drew strong reactions from the Middle East. Some nations, like Turkey and Iraq, welcomed the deal. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been an outspoken critic of the talks, called the deal “a stunning historic mistake.” Meanwhile, the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC released a statement saying the kingdom “has always been in favor of an agreement.” But it warned that Iran would face “harsh and determined responses” if it uses funds from sanctions relief to “incite turmoil." The following are excerpted remarks from Middle Eastern leaders on the agreement.

Israel
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
 
“The leading international powers have bet our collective future on a deal with the foremost sponsor of international terrorism. They’ve gambled that in ten year’s time, Iran’s terrorist regime will change while removing any incentive for it to do so. In fact, the deal gives Iran every incentive not to change. In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region and its efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing.”
 
“By not dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, in a decade this deal will give an unreformed, unrepentant and far richer terrorist regime the capacity to produce many nuclear bombs, in fact an entire nuclear arsenal with the means to deliver it.”
 
“What a stunning historic mistake!”
 
“Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran and Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction.”
 
“We will always defend ourselves.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
 
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Press Agency
 
 
Translation: “The Kingdom was always in support of the existence of an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons in any way.”  
 
Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC
 
An official Saudi source said today that the Kingdom has always been in favor of an agreement between Iran and the P 5+1 Group that would prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The agreement must include a specific, strict and sustainable inspection regime of all Iranian sites, including military sites, as well as a mechanism to swiftly re-impose effective sanctions in the event that Iran violates the agreement.
 
The source confirmed that Saudi Arabia agrees with the P5+1 Group and the international community in continuing the sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism and its violations of international arms treaties.
 
Under the nuclear deal, Iran has to use its resources for domestic development and to improve the living conditions of its people rather than use it to incite turmoil in the region, which would only be met with harsh and determined responses from the countries of the region.
 
The source concluded by saying that since Iran is a neighboring country, the Kingdom is looking forward to build the best of relations in all fields on the principle of good neighborliness and non-interference in the affairs of others.
July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Oman
 
Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah
 
“It reflects confidence in Omani diplomacy and it establishes a new phase in international peace.”
 
“The agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the six world powers serves as evidence of the Sultanate’s capacity and its outstanding relationship with all the parties on the basis of trust. The Sultanate had a role at the highest level between the leaders of the nations and Iran.”
 
“This agreement went through many stages, some of which were based on building trust between the parties and this is essential to end mutual concerns. However, last year witnessed a shift towards positive attitudes to enter substantive negotiations linked to political trends.”
 
“This is paving the way culture of peace between nations and people in the region in general and the world.”
 
“We, at the Gulf Cooperation Council, sense that we are partners in a culture of peace and there might be consultation in the near future between Iran and the GCC states  in this framework so as to enhance stability.”
 
“This agreement is the beginning of a political movement to address all issues in the region and others as well. It requires a bit of patience, and paves the way to diplomatic and political dialogue to address the conflicts in Iraq, Yemen and Syria.”
 
“We should test our ability to employ preventive diplomatic means, the success of this file, including its complexities, is proof that this kind of diplomacy is successful and I call on everyone to use this medium to make a win-win bet to install a culture of peace.”
July 15, 2015, according to the press
 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
 
Oman followed with great interest the positive discussions that lead to the comprehensive agreement reached between the six major powers and Iran over its nuclear program, which was announced at noon today in the Austrian capital of Vienna.
 
The Sultanate blesses this historic agreement and extends its sincere congratulations to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States and the rest of the Group 5 + 1 on the success of the efforts of dialogue and diplomacy, which confirms that this is the best way to resolve issues in various countries around the world and the Sultanate expresses its deep appreciation for the honest understanding and responsibility shown by the negotiators throughout all the past days and years.
 
The Sultanate is participating with other nations and people around the world in welcoming this achievement hoping that it leads to more security and regional and international stability, as well as to establish a new phase of the relations between countries of the world in which understanding, cooperation and respect prevail. 
July 15, 2015 in a statement
 
Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood al Busaidi
 
Iraq
 
Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al Abadi
 
“The Iran deal expresses a common will to bring peace and security to our region.”
July 15, 2015, according to the press
 
“We have followed with great interest and optimism the news of reaching a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program including the provision of peace, security, stability and prosperity for Iran, the region and the world on other hard choices. As we congratulate the people of neighbouring Iran, the people of the region and the world in this step towards an important agreement, we look forward to its objectives of sparing the region from the horrors and the disasters of war and conflict at a time when it is most in need for security and peace, and further work and cooperation in the fight against terrorism, particularly against ISIS affiliates, which aim to tear the region and the world and sink them in temptation and blood.”
July 14, 2015, on his official facebook account
 
Foreign Minister Ibrahim al Jafari
 

“The implementation of the Iran-P5+1 nuclear agreement is necessary for the restoration of security to the region."
July 14, 2015, according to the press (via Iran Front Page)
 

Turkey

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

“Annulment of the sanctions imposed against Iran in this deal will benefit regional economy and will directly leave positive effects on Turkey’s economy."
July 14, 2015, according to the press (via Iran Front Page)

 

The Final Deal: Congress Reacts

The announcement of a final nuclear deal on July 14 prompted mixed reactions from members of Congress. House Speaker John Boehnor (R-OH) said, "if in fact it’s as bad a deal as I think it is at this moment, we’ll do everything we can to stop it.” Senate minority whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), however, said "I commend our negotiators for this critical effort. Finding a diplomatic solution will make our country, our allies, and the world a safer place.”

Once the official document is delivered to Congress, lawmakers will have 60 days to review the agreement, according to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act that was signed into law in May. If lawmakers disapprove, they can pass a resolution to block the deal from being implemented. President Obama, however, has said he will veto any efforts to block the deal. Congress would then need a two-thirds majority to override the veto.

The following are excerpted remarks from lawmakers on the final nuclear deal.

Leadership
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
 
“The comprehensive nuclear agreement announced today appears to further the flawed elements of April’s interim agreement because the Obama Administration approached these talks from a flawed perspective: reaching the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than actually advancing our national goal of ending Iran's nuclear program. 
 
“The Senate must now weigh why a nuclear agreement should result in reduced pressure on the world's leading state sponsor of terror. We’ll hold hearings and examine the agreement, including several aspects that are particularly integral to understanding what concessions the Iranians were able to secure from the Obama Administration...The test of the agreement should be whether it leaves our country and our allies safer.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX)
 
“From the beginning there has been bipartisan concern with how the Obama Administration has approached these negotiations. Iran has done nothing to demonstrate to the American people that we should trust them. Unfortunately, this deal abandons longstanding U.S. policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in favor of one that merely delays it.
 
“While the Obama Administration might think any deal is better than no deal, allowing Iran a clear path to develop nuclear weapons would sacrifice sound policy for a short-sighted political victory for the President. Thanks to a strong bipartisan vote earlier this year, we will now put this deal under the microscope on behalf of the American people, and if it jeopardizes our national security interests, Congress may have no choice but to vote it down.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
 
“Today’s historic accord is the result of years of hard work by President Barack Obama and his administration. The world community agrees that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable and a threat to our national security, the safety of Israel and the stability of the Middle East. Now it is incumbent on Congress to review this agreement with the thoughtful, level-headed process an agreement of this magnitude deserves.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL)
 
“The United States, working with our allies, has reached a historic agreement with Iran that, according to President Obama and Secretary Kerry, will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I commend our negotiators for this critical effort. Finding a diplomatic solution will make our country, our allies, and the world a safer place.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Democratic Policy Committee Chair and Senate Banking Committee Member Charles Schumer (D-NY)
 
“Over the coming days, I intend to go through this agreement with a fine-tooth comb, speak with administration officials, and hear from experts on all sides. I supported legislation ensuring that Congress would have time and space to review the deal, and now we must use it well. Supporting or opposing this agreement is not a decision to be made lightly, and I plan to carefully study the agreement before making an informed decision.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
 
“You know, at the outset of the Iran negotiations, the Obama administration said that a good deal would affirm that Iran does not have the right to enrich. They also said that keeping sanctions in place until Iran met concrete, verifiable standards. And, they believed that they had to stop Iran’s drive for a nuclear bomb. 
 
“Listen, the president has abandoned all of those goals, and that’s why the deal that we have out there, in my view, from what I know of it thus far, is unacceptable. It’s going to hand a dangerous regime billions of dollars in sanctions relief while paving the way for a nuclear Iran.
 
“This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s not a partisan issue at all. It’s about right versus wrong. And we’re going to do everything we can to get to the details. And, if in fact it’s as bad a deal as I think it is at this moment, we’ll do everything we can to stop it.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
 
“As I—and the President—have said before, no deal that allows Iran to get nuclear weapons is acceptable. A nuclear Iran would put America and our allies at grave risk. Congress intends to thoroughly review this deal, as provided for in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. The details are critical to understanding what concessions this Administration has made and how damaging they will be to U.S. national security interests around the world. Nothing in the deal announced today eliminates Iran’s ability to eventually become a nuclear threshold power. It just delays the day and rewards the Iranians with billions of dollars in sanctions relief until that day comes.
 
“This Administration has said repeatedly that no deal is better than a bad deal. Now, they must be held accountable. We already know that as a result of this deal, the U.S. and our allies will be forced to confront a richer, more resilient Iran that will continue its quest for regional hegemony. Congress must and will take time to properly review this deal, but early reports are gravely disconcerting."
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA)
 
“The Obama Administration wanted a deal with Iran at any cost, and they got one -- at a dangerous cost. In their rush to strike a deal, the only thing they have managed to accomplish is to build upon the concessions granted in April’s deeply flawed nuclear framework with Iran. I was strongly opposed to the Obama Administration’s capitulation to Iran in April and I remain so today. Iran is a rogue regime that sponsors terror, threatens the security of America and our ally Israel, and works to destabilize the entire Middle East region. Congress has been crystal clear up to this point: Iran must not have the capability to develop and build a nuclear weapon. This deal allows them to get up to the one yard line without cheating. If allowed to move forward, history will look back on this bad deal as the sanctioned beginning of Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon. I will do everything I can to fight the implementation of any deal that exposes Americans to unacceptable risks."
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
 
“The historic nuclear agreement announced today is the product of years of tough, bold and clear-eyed leadership from President Obama. I commend the President for his strength throughout the historic negotiations that have led to this point. I join him in commending Secretary Kerry and Secretary Moniz for their leadership.
 
“A nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable to the United States, unacceptable to Israel, and unacceptable to the world. Aggressive restrictions and inspections offer the best long-term plan to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Congress will closely review the details of this agreement.
 
“We have no illusions about the Iranian regime – or the destabilizing influence Iran continues to have in the region. We must maintain our vigilance. All options remain on the table should Iran take any steps toward a nuclear weapon or deviate from the terms of this agreement.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
 
“With the announcement today of an agreement with Iran, it is now up to Members of Congress to work carefully through every detail, particularly given Iran’s likelihood to exploit any ambiguity or loophole to its benefit and to the detriment of the security of America, Israel, and our allies in Europe and the Gulf.  I have been very clear about what I believe must be included, and I will now be examining the agreement unveiled today to see if it meets those criteria.
 
“I am pleased that the White House worked with Senators Cardin and Corker to ensure that Congress will have the opportunity it deserves to review this agreement.  As Congress now turns to the business of examining this agreement with great scrutiny, I want to express my appreciation to the countless U.S. officials who have been working tirelessly on these negotiations.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Committee Leaders
 
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ)
 
“The most concerning concessions – on sanctions, sunset, inspections and verification, research and development, and Iran’s enrichment capability, among others – were made long ago. To those concessions, it now appears that the Administration has made still more, especially the repeal of the international arms embargo on Iran. The result, I fear, is that this agreement will strengthen Iran’s ability to acquire conventional weapons and ballistic missiles, while retaining an industrial scale nuclear program, without any basic change to its malign activities in the Middle East."
 
“Ultimately, the problem with this agreement is that it is built far too much on hope – on the belief that somehow the Iranian government will fundamentally change in the next several years, such that it can be trusted with a growing arsenal, a huge influx of cash, and the infrastructure of a nuclear program. This is delusional and dangerous, especially as we see Iran on the offensive in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and elsewhere in the region. Instead, I fear this agreement could undermine the very goals we have maintained for 35 years – weakening the Islamic Republic, constraining its threatening influence, strengthening Israel and our Arab partners, lessening regional tensions, and preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement

Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI)
 
“This agreement demonstrates the power of American-led diplomacy and establishes a strict and robust monitoring and verification system. If fully implemented, this deal will help control Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.”
 
“As President Obama points out, the accord is not built on trust, but on verification. Any attempt by Iran to break the rules or covertly pursue nuclear weapons must be met with swift, forceful, and decisive action by the United States and the international community.
 
“In the weeks ahead, Congress has a solemn obligation to carefully review the details of this historic agreement and to independently confirm that we are meeting our common goal of stopping Iran from building a nuclear weapon and making our nation, and the world, a safer place.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN)
 
“I want to read the agreement in detail and fully understand it, but I begin from a place of deep skepticism that the deal actually meets the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. In the coming days, Congress will need to scrutinize this deal and answer whether implementing the agreement is worth dismantling our painstakingly-constructed sanctions regime that took more than a decade to establish. Iran continues to be the lead sponsor of terrorism in the world and relieving sanctions would make the Tehran regime flush with cash and could create a more dangerous threat to the United States and its allies."
 
“Throughout these negotiations, I have expressed significant concerns to the administration about the crossing of red line after red line as we have moved from a goal of dismantling Iran’s nuclear capabilities to managing its proliferation."
—July 14, 2015, in a statement

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD)
 
“It is in America’s national security interest that Iran is blocked from ever having a nuclear weapon. Congress has an obligation to vigorously and judiciously review the deal announced today with a seriousness of purpose. Negotiators have spent painstaking time and untold effort working on this accord. Congress in turn must fulfill its oversight responsibilities and conduct a thorough, rigorous, and evenhanded review. There is no trust when it comes to Iran. In our deliberations we need to ensure the negotiations resulted in a comprehensive, long-lasting, and verifiable outcome that also provides for snap-back of sanctions should Iran deviate from its commitments. Congress faces a solemn charge that I expect will be fulfilled to the best of our abilities and at the highest of standards beginning today.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX)
 
"Mr. President: Now that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Germany (the “P5+1”) and Iran have reached an agreement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we write to urge you to delay any action by the United Nations Security Council to approve of the deal – including a significant weakening of the U.N. arms embargos on ballistic missiles and conventional weapons – until the Congressional review is complete.  Simply, the United States Congress should be given the opportunity to consider the final text of this hugely consequential agreement before action at the United Nations. 
 
Any U.S.-supported effort to lift UN sanctions before Congress has weighed-in on the terms of the agreement would undermine our oversight responsibilities and violate the spirit of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which you signed into law.  It is distressing that your Administration would afford Russia and China the opportunity to vote on the final agreement before the American people’s representatives do.  The full 60 day review period and parliamentary procedures prescribed by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act should be allowed to play out before action at the Security Council.   
 
Moreover, while we understand that you intend to veto any joint resolution of disapproval that Congress may send to your desk, it would be entirely inappropriate and divisive for your Administration to vote to lift UN-backed sanctions should Congress reject the final agreement and override a presidential veto to that effect."
—July 16, 2015, in a joint letter to President Obama
 
House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY)
 
“When sanctions are eased, then Congress must use every tool at our disposal to prevent Iran from plowing its newfound wealth into violence and turmoil. Just last week, Syria’s President Assad accepted a $1billion line of credit from Iran to help sustain his murderous regime. Iran has transferred millions to Gaza in recent months, which will help Hamas rebuild the tunnels it uses to kidnap, kill, and terrorize Israelis. We need to make sure that a nuclear deal doesn’t make these problems worse.
 
“As Congress reviews this deal, we will have to consider what the alternatives are. We will not be choosing between this deal and a perfect deal. And if this deal goes through, Congress must be ready if Iran fails to comply with the agreement. In that case, we can’t only rely on snapback sanctions provided for in the agreement.   Congress should be ready to complement those provisions with increased pressure on Iran. A good starting point would be the Nuclear Free Iran Act, which Chairman Royce and I passed in the last Congress. This legislation would target Iran’s remaining oil exports, prevent access to its overseas reserves, and blacklist certain strategic sectors of the Iranian economy. The House passed this legislation by a vote of 400 to 20 in July 2013.
 
“If Iran fails to comply and the international sanctions regime collapses—and that’s a real possibility, given recent actions by Russia and China—we will have to consider the whole range of options if Iran races toward a bomb. A military strike would have severe consequences for our allies and interests in the region, and is by no means the only alternative to a deal. But a credible threat to destroy Iran’s nuclear program must remain on the table, as it always has been.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
 
"If Iran decides to build a nuclear weapon, this deal only extends the timeline for Iran to break-out by 9 months – and that assumes that the agreement is being implemented precisely by all parties, which is dubious when we know Iran failed to adhere to the terms of the interim deal. In exchange, Iran will receive billions in sanctions relief, a windfall to pursue its aggressive, destabilizing agenda in the region and beyond. Whatever the claimed gains we get from this deal, it clearly does not outweigh the risks to the security in the region and to the United States and its interests."
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA)
 
"I applaud the Administration for all of its hard work.  From the harsh sanctions that brought Iran to the table, to the strenuous and lengthy negotiations that have brought us to this point, the Administration has worked tirelessly to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. 
 
"I look forward to thoroughly reviewing the agreement announced today. We cannot let our desire for a deal allow us to accept a bad deal. And we cannot allow politics to stand in the way of a good deal. In the coming days, Congress will have the opportunity to scrutinize the deal presented today. It is my hope that Congress takes advantage of this time to honestly review the deal and determine whether it is in the best interest of the United States to move forward. This potential agreement comes on the heels of a long history of mistrust and cheating by Iran. Consolation with our allies and a strong inspections and verification regime will be vital to the success of this agreement.
—July 14, 2015, in a statement

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA)
 
“The Obama administration has achieved the rare feat of uniting Israel with a wide array of Arab nations. Unfortunately, the issue that unites them is opposition to the Iran deal. I don’t know what information the Obama administration possesses that indicates this deal will actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon or will cause the mullahs to reduce their support for worldwide terrorism, but it sure isn’t the same intelligence we’re seeing in the Intelligence Committee. Iran has killed hundreds of U.S. soldiers, tried to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States, and is committed to annihilating Israel. This deal will guarantee Iran the capability to carry out its clear intent." 
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA)
 
"As the terms and consequences of this agreement become clear during the period of Congressional review, I would urge my colleagues to give the measure the serious thought it deserves. If the agreement is flawed it should be rejected; at the same time, we must not compare the proposal to an ideal, but rather to any credible alternative. Will rejection of the deal lead to additional sanctions and an Iran willing to concede more, or to renewed enrichment and a path to war? These are the stakes and our decision should be made with sober thought and a minimum of partisan demagoguery."
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Committee Members
 
Senate Armed Services Committee Member Roger Wicker (R-MS)
 
“I remain skeptical that the Iranian regime will cooperate with international inspectors and live up to its obligations. History has taught us that Iran does not make good on its word, going to great lengths to cover up and deceive the world about its nuclear ambitions and ballistic capabilities.
 
“This deal is not yet final. Congress and the American people now have the opportunity to review the agreement. Ultimately, preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon should be our top priority. I am deeply concerned that this arrangement does not achieve that vital national security goal.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Senate Armed Services Committee and Foreign Relations Committee Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
 
“Throughout negotiations, I’ve been adamant that the United States must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and that hardnosed diplomacy is the preferred means of doing so. Earlier this year, Congress passed legislation, which I supported, that allows the House and Senate to consider this weighty agreement in all its detail. It is critical that Congress take the time necessary to conduct this review. My support for this deal hinges on whether we can verify that Iran’s paths to obtaining a nuclear weapon are thoroughly blocked. I want to congratulate Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz and the rest of the negotiating team for their tremendous persistence in reaching this agreement, and I look forward to a thorough review with my colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement


Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Ron Johnson (R-WI)
 
“I have often stated that I believe this negotiation was lost from the start when President Obama capitulated and agreed that Iran would not have to dismantle its nuclear program. Initial reports of the deal do not change my opinion. That said, I will carefully review the details before rendering my final judgment.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement

 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
 
"I look forward to robust hearings in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, if this agreement is what the Administration says it is, it is a major, historic diplomatic breakthrough."
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Senate Banking Committee and Foreign Relations Committee Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
 
“This is an opportunity for Congress to exert its responsibility to review the agreement and I look forward to thoroughly analyzing the details when submitted because, in this case, how it is written has enormous consequences. But I’m concerned that the deal ultimately legitimizes Iran as a threshold-nuclear state. I’m concerned the redlines we drew have turned into green-lights; that Iran will be required only to limit rather than eliminate its nuclear program, while the international community will be required to lift the sanctions, and that it doesn’t provide for anytime-any-place inspections of suspected sites. The bottom line is: The deal doesn’t end Iran’s nuclear program – it preserves it.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement

Senate Banking Committee Member Mark Kirk (R-IL)
 
“I am gravely concerned that the nuclear agreement will condemn the next generation to living with an Iranian nuclear power in the Persian Gulf and ultimately endanger the security of the United States, Israel, and other regional allies over the long term.
 
“This agreement will enrich and empower Iran, the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism, because it will dismantle the international sanctions regime against Iran, give Iran back over $100 billion in frozen assets, and lift a U.N. arms embargo that has banned Iran from buying and selling conventional weapons and ballistic missiles.
 
“Worse, this agreement will pave Iran’s path to nuclear weapons because it requires Iran to take temporary and reversible steps that keep it at the threshold of acquiring nuclear weapons, and will allow Iran to obstruct and veto inspections at suspect nuclear facilities instead of imposing zero-notice nuclear inspections anytime and at any place in Iran, including military sites.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Senate Banking Committee Member Dean Heller (R-NV)
 
“I have some serious reservations regarding the deal reached on Iran’s nuclear program and will review it carefully, as will the public. For more than three decades, America has stood up against Iran and implemented sanctions enacted by Congress to prevent them from further developing a nuclear weapon. Yet, this work may be unraveled by an agreement that crosses red lines the U.S. had previously set, putting our nation and its allies like Israel at risk,” said Senator Dean Heller. “I’m sure this is a proud day for the Iranian negotiators. The leadership our nation now needs is for Congress to act decisively in the review process to ensure we are doing everything within our power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Senate Banking Committee and Armed Services Committee Member Tom Cotton (R-AR)
 
“The deal announced by President Obama today is a grievous, dangerous mistake. It will give Iran tens of billions of dollars to finance its sponsorship of terrorism against the United States and our allies. It will lift embargoes on conventional weapons and ballistic-missile sales to Iran. And, ultimately, it will pave the way for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. If this deal is approved, it will represent a historic defeat for the United States.
 
“When I was a platoon leader in Iraq, my soldiers and I faced deadly roadside bombs, made and supplied by Iran. I tried to reassure them, but I could only tell them to hope it wasn’t our day to die by Iran’s roadside bombs. If Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, I fear the United States will only be able to hope it isn’t our day to die by an Iranian nuclear bomb.
 
"If President Obama wants to liken this deal to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty then he should have followed our constitutional process and negotiated it as a treaty. Instead, he went at it alone and is now threatening to veto any attempts by Congress to conduct oversight. Over the coming weeks, I will work tirelessly to protect America from this deal and to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear-weapons capability. I am confident that the American people will repudiate this dangerous deal and Congress will kill the deal.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Senate Banking Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence Member Mark Warner (D-VA)
 
“I will review this agreement with the utmost attention to detail, given the incredible importance of getting an agreement of this magnitude right. Under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which I supported, Congress will have 60 days to analyze this agreement and carefully consider whether it substantially advances the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. In particular, I will pay close attention to the dismantling of Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program; ensuring an intrusive and reliable verification process; and ensuring a graduated process of sanctions relief entirely dependent upon Iran’s compliance, along with a process for re-imposing U.S. and international sanctions if Iran violates terms of the agreement.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
Senate Banking Committee Member Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
 
"A nuclear-armed Iran represents a significant threat to the United States, to our allies in the Middle East, and to the world. Diplomacy represents our best hope of ending that threat, far better than the alternative of escalating tensions and war. President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Moniz deserve great credit for working with our allies to reach a negotiated solution to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran without resorting to military action. In the coming weeks, I look forward to reviewing the details of this agreement to determine whether they are tough, verifiable, and effective."
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
House Foreign Affairs Committee Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
 
“As expected, the Obama administration has capitulated to the demands of the Iranians and has negotiated a weak and dangerous nuclear deal that undermines our national security and poses a threat to our allies in the region, especially the democratic Jewish State of Israel. We were repeatedly and forcefully told in Congress that this deal would only cover Iran's nuclear program, but now it is clear that Obama has agreed to lifting all UN Security Council sanctions, including the arms embargo on Iran and its ballistic missile technology.
 
“The President has moved the goal post back so many times on his own previous red lines on the nuclear deal that now Iran gets to keep its facilities at Fordow and Natanz and its Arak reactor will remain open for business. This deal sets in place every key component of a nuclear program that Iran needs to develop a weapon and, according to reports, the only mechanism for inspections will come as a result of consultations with Iran. Iran has been caught cheating throughout the negotiations, but the Obama administration has not been open or forthcoming. Obama officials have come to Iran’s defense every time so it will only embolden Iran to continue its illicit activities. Congress must do our due diligence to examine this deal before the President can take it to the UN for a binding vote.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
House Foreign Affairs Committee Member Brad Sherman (D-CA)
 
“A comprehensive agreement, even if it is a better-than-expected agreement, does not end our problem with Iran’s nuclear program, to say nothing of Iran’s other nefarious activities.  An agreement with Iran will only buy us time. We will need both constant focus on enforcement, as well as continued efforts to stop Iran’s support for terrorism and its efforts to undermine allies and friendly countries in the Middle East.

“If the deal does not provide fully adequate safeguards for decades to come, then Congress must make sure that it is not binding on future Congresses and future Administrations.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement

Iran and UN Watchdog Agree on Roadmap

On July 14, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi agreed on a road map to resolve “past and present outstanding issues” on Iran’s nuclear program. Amano said the road map laid out a plan for the next several months, with the goal to complete a final report by December 15.

The agreement followed the announcement of a historic nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six major powers. Diplomats indicated that the IAEA’s report, which will cover the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear activities, will precede sanctions relief. The following is the text of the roadmap, followed by excerpted remarks from Amano and Salehi.

Road-map for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program
 
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and the Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi agreed on 14 July 2015 the following:
 
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran) agree, in continuation of their cooperation under the Framework for Cooperation, to accelerate and strengthen their cooperation and dialogue aimed at the resolution, by the end of 2015, of all past and present outstanding issues that have not already been resolved by the IAEA and Iran.
 
In this context, Iran and the Agency agreed on the following:
 
1. The IAEA and Iran agreed on a separate arrangement that would allow them to address the remaining outstanding issues, as set out in the annex of the 2011 Director’s General report (GOV/2011/65). Activities undertaken and the outcomes achieved to date by Iran and the IAEA regarding some of the issues will be reflected in the process.
 
2. Iran will provide, by 15 August 2015, its explanations in writing and related documents to the IAEA, on issues contained in the separate arrangement mentioned in paragraph 1.
 
3. After receiving Iran’s written explanations and related documents, the IAEA will review this information by 15 September 2015, and will submit to Iran questions on any possible ambiguities regarding such information.
 
4. After the IAEA has submitted to Iran questions on any possible ambiguities regarding such information, technical-expert meetings, technical measures, as agreed in a separate arrangement, and discussions will be organized in Tehran to remove such ambiguities.
 
5. Iran and the IAEA agreed on another separate arrangement regarding the issue of Parchin.
 
6. All activities, as set out above, will be completed by 15 October 2015, aimed at resolving all past and present outstanding issues, as set out in the annex of the 2011 Director General’s report (GOV/2011/65).
 
7. The Director General will provide regular updates to the Board of Governors on the implementation of this Road-map.
 
8. By 15 December 2015, the Director General will provide, for action by the Board of Governors, the final assessment on the resolution of all past and present outstanding issues, as set out in the annex of the 2011 Director General’s report (GOV/2011/65). A wrap up technical meeting between Iran and the Agency will be organized before the issuance of the report.
 
9. Iran stated that it will present, in writing, its comprehensive assessment to the IAEA on the report by the Director General.
 
10. In accordance with the Framework for Cooperation, the Agency will continue to take into account Iran’s security concerns.
July 14, 2015, from the International Atomic Energy Agency
 
International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Yukiya Amano
 
“I have just signed the Road-map between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. The text has been signed on behalf of Iran by the country’s Vice-President, and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mr Ali Akbar Salehi. This is a significant step forward towards clarifying outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme.
 
The Road-map sets out a process, under the November 2013 Framework for Cooperation, to enable the Agency, with the cooperation of Iran, to make an assessment of issues relating to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme by the end of 2015.
 
It sets out a clear sequence of activities over the coming months, including the provision by Iran of explanations regarding outstanding issues. It provides for technical expert meetings, technical measures and discussions, as well as a separate arrangement regarding the issue of Parchin.
 
This should enable me to issue a report setting out the Agency’s final assessment of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme, for the action of the IAEA Board of Governors, by 15 December 2015. “I will keep the Board regularly updated on the implementation of the Road-map.
 
Implementation of this Road-map will provide an important opportunity to resolve the outstanding issues related to Iran’s nuclear programme.”
—July 14, 2015, in a statement
 
"I congratulate Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union for reaching this joint comprehensive agreement following many months of tireless negotiations.”
 
"I welcome this agreement which will facilitate the IAEA’s further verification work in Iran.”
 
"We will be asked to monitor and verify the nuclear-related measures set out in the agreement. I will then report to and consult the IAEA’s Board of Governors on this request and on how to secure the necessary financial resources for the Agency.”
 
"I am confident in our ability to do this important work. The IAEA stands ready to undertake the necessary monitoring and verification activities when requested.”
 
"With respect to the clarification of outstanding issues related to the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme, the IAEA and Iran have, earlier today, agreed a Road-map as part of the Framework for Cooperation between the Agency and Iran.”
 
"Under this Road-map, and with the cooperation of Iran, the IAEA will be able to establish an understanding of the whole picture concerning these issues and report our assessment to our Board of Governors by the end of the year."
 
"This is a significant step forward toward clarifying outstanding issues regarding Iran's nuclear program.”
—July 14, 2015, according to the press
 
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi
 
"All past issues will be resolved completely after Iran and the Agency adopt some measures.”
 
"I hope that a new chapter in relations and cooperation between Iran and the IAEA will start after the settlement of the past issues.”
—July 14, 2015, according to the press
 
"All agreements, including the agreed arrangements for the issue of Parchin, will be implemented while fully observing the country's red lines.”
—July 14, 2015, according to the press
 

Photo credits: IAEA flag via Wikimedia Commons, Salehi by U.S. Dept of State via Flickr Commons (cropped), Amano by Cancillería del Ecuador via Flickr Commons (cropped), [(CC BY-SA 2.0]

Tags: IAEA, Nuclear

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