United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

US Appoints Coordinator for Nuclear Deal

On September 17, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the appointment of Ambassador Stephen D. Mull as Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation. The following is Kerry's statement in full.

I have always said that, as important as it was to negotiate the nuclear deal with Iran, implementing it was going to be even more crucial in meeting our national security objectives. That’s why today I am so pleased to announce the appointment of Ambassador Stephen D. Mull as Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation. As we move past the 60-day Congressional review period, it is vitally important that we now have the right team with the right leader in place to ensure the successful implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which will make the United States, our friends and allies in the Middle East, and the entire world safer.
From his position at the State Department, reporting directly to Deputy Secretary Blinken and me, Steve will lead the interagency effort to ensure that the nuclear steps Iran committed to in the JCPOA are fully implemented and verified, and that we and our partners are taking reciprocal action on sanctions, following the nuclear steps. His immediate team at the State Department will consist of experts with a variety of experience relevant to his task of coordinating inter-agency implementation of the JCPOA, and within State his team will rely on support from the bureaus with lead responsibilities in relevant policy areas, such as our support of the IAEA and sanctions issues. Interagency coordination will involve the Departments of State, Treasury, Energy, Homeland Security, Commerce, Justice, and Defense, as well as others in the intelligence and law enforcement communities.
Steve will draw on the entire range of his 33 years of government service for this critical task. Prior to his most recent position as our Ambassador to Poland, Steve served from 2010 to 2012 as Executive Secretary of the State Department, coordinating responses to a wide range of crises and managing the Department’s support for the Secretary of State. From 2008 to 2010, Steve served as Senior Advisor to then-Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, working on the range of issues related to Iran’s nuclear program and supporting Under Secretary Burns in his capacity as U.S. Political Director in the P5+1 negotiating process. In particular, Steve played a key role in designing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, which imposed additional nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, and marshalling support for its adoption by the Council. He also worked closely with the U.S. Mission to the IAEA in pressing for full accountability in Iran’s nuclear program. Steve traveled frequently to engage with foreign partners and worked across the U.S. government in support of our Iran-related efforts, an effort he takes up once again in his new role.
As we move forward with JCPOA implementation, the Department and the entire Administration will continue to work closely with our partners and allies in the region to deepen our security cooperation and to counter Iran’s destabilizing behavior, including its support for terrorism. These concerns and others related to Iran will continue to have the attention of the highest levels of the Department and the U.S. government.
Finally, I again want to thank the countless number of dedicated employees from across the U.S. government who worked tirelessly for many months on the negotiation of this agreement. This impressive interagency effort to get the right outcome that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon demands an equally rigorous implementation effort. That’s why Steve Mull is absolutely the right person to lead this effort.  

Mull’s Twitter handle is @SteveMullUSA. 

U.S. Presidential Candidates on Iran

Virtually every U.S. presidential candidate highlighted flaws or limitations in the nuclear deal between Iran and the world's six major powers. But there was a wide gap in opinion between Democrats and Republicans, and even among Republicans themselves. On September 16, Iran was a frequent topic at the second Republican debate held at the Ronald Reagan library in California. The following are excerpted remarks from all the candidates on Iran. 


Hillary Clinton
Former Secretary of State under Obama and former Senator from New York

“My [Iran] strategy will be based on five strong pillars.
“First, I will deepen America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, including our longstanding tradition of guaranteeing Israel’s qualitative military edge."
“Second, I will reaffirm that the Persian Gulf is a region of vital interest to the United States. We don’t want any of Iran’s neighbors to develop or acquire a nuclear weapons program either, so we want them to feel and be secure. I will sustain a robust military presence in the region, especially our air and naval forces."
“Third, I will build a coalition to counter Iran’s proxies, particularly Hezbollah. That means enforcing and strengthening the rules prohibiting the transfers of weapons to Hezbollah, looking at new ways to choke off their funding, and pressing our partners to treat Hezbollah as the terrorist organization it is."
“Across the board, I will vigorously enforce and strengthen if necessary the American sanctions on Iran and its Revolutionary Guard for its sponsorship of terrorism, its ballistic missile program, and other destabilizing activities."
“Fourth, I’ll stand, as I always have, against Iran’s abuses of home, from its detention of political prisoners to its crackdown on freedom of expression, including online."
“Fifth, just as the nuclear agreement needs to be embedded in a broader Iran policy, our broader Iran policy needs to be embedded in a comprehensive regional strategy that promotes stability and counters extremism."
Question: Madam Secretary, you talked about how you would use American muscle to contain Iran. Can you tell us how you might use the new diplomatic channel to engage Iran on issues, whether it’s support for extremist groups or specifically dealing with the crisis in Syria? Would you be willing to use that diplomatic channel to engage Iran?
Clinton: “Yes, I would…and I would because I think that we have to attempt to do that."
“It takes a while…to figure out who’s at the table, what the conversation is about, how seriously it’ll be taken, who’s backing you up."
“So if there were a way to construct such a channel, I would be open to it. But I’m just laying out some of the difficulties of us being able to do that on this suite of other issues that are complex and touch many of the region’s vital interests.
“Just as I said diplomacy is a balancing of risks, it’s also the constant evaluation of where the opportunities are, where the openings are, what possibly could happen now that didn’t happen before. So I’m open, but I am very sober about how it would have to be constructed and what it would actually cover and who would have to be either at the table or in the first chair behind so that they didn’t feel that they were being left out or negotiated over.”
—Sept. 9, 2015 in an address at the Brookings Institution
Martin O’Malley
Former Governor of Maryland

"The key is that [the deal] has to be verifiable and enforceable. If Iran were our friend, we wouldn't have to negotiate. Maryland was one of those states -- perhaps Iowa, I don't know -- but many states and many nations put in place tough, tough sanctions to drive the Iranians to the negotiating table in order to hopefully prevent them from developing a nuclear weapon through multiple pathways. So the key now is to make sure that it is in fact enforceable, verifiable, tightly monitored, and that we're prepared to snap sanctions back into place in the event that the Iranians were to cheat on this. But I think it holds a lot of promise. And I think this is how an effective foreign policy works, not merely using our military powers, but also our diplomatic. We have to also be about waging peace. And perhaps this deal is that path forward."
—July 30, 2015 in an interview on Iowa Public Radio


Bernie Sanders
Senator from Vermont

“I believe this approach [the nuclear deal] is the best way forward if we are to accomplish what we all want to accomplish—that is making certain that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon – an occurrence which would destabilize the region, lead to a nuclear arms race in the area, and would endanger the existence of Israel.
“It is my firm belief that the test of a great nation, with the most powerful military on earth, is not how many wars we can engage in, but how we can use our strength and our capabilities to resolve international conflicts in a peaceful way.
“I fear that many of my Republican colleagues do not understand that war must be a last resort, not the first resort. It is easy to go to war, it not so easy to comprehend the unintended consequences of that war."
“I believe we have an obligation to pursue diplomatic solutions before resorting to military engagement – especially after nearly fourteen years of ill-conceived and disastrous military engagements in the region."
“Does the agreement achieve everything I would like? No, it does not. But to my mind, it is far better than the path we were on – with Iran developing nuclear weapons capability and the potential for military intervention by the U.S. and Israel growing greater by the day.
“Let us not forget that if Iran does not live up to the agreement, sanctions may be reimposed. If Iran moves toward a nuclear weapon, all available options remain on the table. I think it is incumbent upon us, however, to give the negotiated agreement a chance to succeed, and it is for these reasons that I will support the agreement.”
—Sept 9, 2015, in a statement  
Jim Webb
Former Senator from Virginia

Webb criticized “an approach that is just focusing on a nuclear agreement when we have to look at the balance of power in the region and the signals that have been sent in the region in terms of Iran’s growing power. That’s the reason I opposed the invasion of Iraq, by the way. One of the reasons was that it was going to empower Iran, and now that they have been empowered, I just think it’s the wrong time for an agreement like this."

“I think that the focus on this deal has simply been on a slowing down [of] the potential acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran, and we’ve never been in [this] situation before where we have sort of given a tacit approval for the eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons by another country."
—Aug. 20, 2015, according to the press



Jeb Bush
Former Governor of Florida
“It's not a strategy to tear up an agreement. A strategy would be how do we confront Iran? And, the first thing that we need to do is to establish our commitment to Israel which has been altered by this administration. And, make sure that they have the most sophisticated weapons to send a signal to Iran that we have Israel's back. If we do that, it's going to create a healthier deterrent effect than anything else I can think of.”
—Sept. 16, 2015, in a Republican debate
Ben Carson
Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital
“My biggest problem with the whole Iranian situation is that I believe that the Congress should have never agreed to anything outside of a treaty. You know, it fits all the requirements for a treaty.”
“I think we let the Iranians know that there’s a new sheriff in town, and that we’re not abiding by that, and we begin to use whatever powers we have to slow down the process. But you know, this is a longer term problem, because our allies right now don’t have a whole lot of respect for us…We’re going to have to very quickly get back to a point where people actually believe what we say, that our friends recognize that we’re their friends, and that our enemies recognize that we’re their enemies. And there has to be consequences for being an enemy of the United States.”
“The Ayatollah has said, you know, very specifically, that there’s going to be a lot of money that’s going to be made available. And I think that it can only be a band thing for us. You know, all of this, you know, he’s got relationships with, you know, many terrorist organizations. And it seems almost like we’re facilitating the funding of those organizations. And it’s very hard for me to understand how we can calmly sit by when the Iranians are actually calling for the destruction of Israel, and you know, down with the USA.”
—Sept. 11, 2015, in an interview
Chris Christie
Governor of New Jersey
“Around the world, I will not shake hands with, I will not meet with, and I will not agree to anything with a country that says death to us and death to Israel and holds our hostages while we sign agreements with them.”
—Sept. 16, 2015, in a Republican debate
"I believe that the American people are going to look back on this and say this is the single worst thing this president has ever done and every death Iran causes is now on Barack Obama's head."
—Sept. 2, 2015, in an interview


Ted Cruz
Senator from Texas

“The single biggest national security threat facing America right now is the threat of a nuclear Iran. We've seen six and a half years of President Obama leading from behind. Weakness is provocative, and this Iranian nuclear deal is nothing short of catastrophic.
“This deal, on its face, will send over $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei, making the Obama administration the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.
“This deal abandons four American hostages in Iran, and this deal will only accelerate Iran's acquiring nuclear weapons. You'd better believe it. If I am elected president, on the very first day in office, I will rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal.”
“We won't know under this agreement -- there are several facilities in Iran they designate as military facilities that are off limits all together. Beyond that, the other facilities, we give them 24 days notice before inspecting them. That is designed to allow them to hide the evidence.
“And most astonishingly, this agreement trusts the Iranians to inspect themselves. That makes no sense whatsoever.”
“President Obama is violating federal law by not handing over the side deals, and we ought to see the United States Congress stand up together and say, ‘Hand over this treaty, and protect this country.’”
—Sept. 16, 2015, in a Republican debate
Carly Fiorina
Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard
“On day one in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls, the first to my good friend to Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him we will stand with the state of Israel.
“The second, to the supreme leader, to tell him that unless and until he opens every military and every nuclear facility to real anytime, anywhere inspections by our people, not his, we, the United States of America, will make it as difficult as possible and move money around the global financial system.
“We can do that, we don't need anyone's cooperation to do it. And every ally and every adversary we have in this world will know that the United States in America is back in the leadership business, which is how we must stand with our allies.”
—Sept. 16, 2015, in a Republican debate
Mike Huckabee
Former Governor of Arkansas
“This is really about the survival of Western civilization. This is not just a little conflict with a Middle Eastern country that we've just now given over $100 billion to, the equivalent in U.S. terms is $5 trillion.
"This threatens Israel immediately, this threatens the entire Middle East, but it threatens the United States of America. And we can't treat a nuclear Iranian government as if it is just some government that would like to have power. This is a government for 36 years has killed Americans, they kidnapped Americans, they have maimed Americans. They have sponsored terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah, and they threaten the very essence of Western civilization.
“To give them this agreement, that the president treats like the Magna Carta, but Iranians treat it like it's toilet paper, and we must, simply, make it very clear that the next president, one of us on this stage, will absolutely not honor that agreement, and will destroy it and will be tough with Iran, because otherwise, we put every person in this world in a very dangerous place.”
—Sept. 16, 2015, in a Republican debate
John Kasich
Governor of Ohio
“Let me suggest to you we believe that we operate better in the world when our allies work with us. President Bush did it in the Gulf War. We work better when we are unified.
“Secondly, nobody's trusting Iran. They violate the deal, we put on the sanctions, and we have the high moral ground to talk to our allies in Europe to get them to go with us.
“If they don't go with us, we slap the sanctions on anyway. If they fund these radical groups that threaten Israel and all of the West, then we should rip up the deal and put the sanctions back on. If we think they're getting close to a -- to developing a nuclear weapon and we get that information, you better believe that I would do everything in my power as the commander-in-chief to stop them having a nuclear weapon.
“We can have it, and we can have our allies, and we can be strong as a country, and we can project across this globe with unity, not just doing it alone. That is not what gets us where we want to get as a nation.”
—Sept. 16, 2015, in a Republican debate
Rand Paul
Senator from Kentucky
“Should we continue to talk with Iran? Yes. Should we cut up the agreement immediately? That's absurd. Wouldn't you want to know if they complied? Now, I'm going to vote against the agreement because I don't think there's significant leverage, but it doesn't mean that I would immediately not look at the agreement, and cut it up without looking to see if whether or not Iran has complied.”
—Sept. 16, 2015, in a Republican debate
Marco Rubio
Senator from Florida
“Anyone who is paying attention to what Khamenei says knows that they will not comply. There is a reason Khamenei refers to Israel as the little Satan, and America as the great Satan.
“In the middle of negotiating this treaty, Khamenei led the assembled masses in chanting, death to America. I'm reminded of a great editorial cartoon. It shows the Ayatollah Khamenei saying, "Death to all Americans," and then it shows John Kerry coming back, saying, "Can we meet ya half way?"
“We need a commander-in-chief who will stand up and protect this country. And I'll tell you, I can't wait to stand on that debate stage with Hillary Clinton and to make abundantly clear if you vote for Hillary, you are voting for the Ayatollah Khomeini to possess a nuclear weapon and if you elect me as president, under no circumstances will a theocratic ayatollah who chants death to America ever be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
—Sept. 16, 2015, in a Republican debate
Donald Trump
CEO of the Trump Organization
“We're talking about Iran. The agreement was terrible. It was incompetent. I've never seen anything like it. One of the worst contracts of any kind I've ever seen.”
—Sept. 16, 2015, in a Republican debate

"It is hard to believe a president of the United States would actually put his name on an agreement with the terrorist state Iran that is so bad, so poorly constructed and so terribly negotiated that it increases uncertainty and reduces security for America and our allies, including Israel."
—Sept. 8, 2015, in an op-ed

Scott Walker
Governor of Wisconsin
“I was one of the first ones to call for terminating the bad deal with Iran on day one…The reality is it's a bad deal on day one, and it's a bad deal because this president has allowed Iran to go closer, and closer.”
—Sept. 16, 2015, in a Republican debate

Photo credits: Jeb Bush [CC BY-SA 4.0]; Ben Carson by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 4.0]; Chris Christie by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 4.0]; Ted Cruz [public domain as US Govt work]; Carly Fiorina by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 2.0]; Mike Huckabee by Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0]; John Kasich [public domain as US Govt work]; Rand Paul [public domain as US Govt work]; Marco Rubio by Gage Skidmore  [CC BY-SA 2.0]; Donald Trump by Michael Vadon  [CC BY-SA 4.0]; Scott Walker by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 4.0]; Hillary Clinton [public domain as US Govt work]; Martin O'Malley[CC BY 2.0]; Jim Webb [public domain as US Govt work]; Bernie Sanders [public domain as US Govt work]

The Final Tally: How Congress Voted on Iran

By September 17, the deadline for Congressional action on the nuclear deal between Iran and the world's six major powers, Senate Democrats had blocked a Republican-led effort to reject the agreement. After debating a resolution of disapproval on the deal, the Senate moved to a procedural vote on September 10 to end debate on the subject, which required 60 votes. But with a vote of 58-42 in favor, Democrats filibustered the measure and prevented the resolution of disapproval from coming to a vote.

Earlier in the week, 42 Senators had declared support for the deal – more than the 34 that President Obama would need to sustain a veto, even if the resolution of disapproval were passed. But the filibuster prevented Obama from even needing to use his veto power. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pushed for another vote on September 15, which Democrats blocked with a vote of 56-42. In a final effort to derail the deal, McConnell then scheduled a third procedural vote on an amendment that would require Iran to release American prisoners and recognize Israel's right to exist before the United States lifted sanctions. On September 17, the motion failed to pass with a vote of 53-45.
President Obama gave the following statement on the Senate vote.
“Today, the Senate took an historic step forward and voted to enable the United States to work with our international partners to enable the implementation of the comprehensive, long-term deal that will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This vote is a victory for diplomacy, for American national security, and for the safety and security of the world. For nearly two years, we negotiated from a position of strength to reach an agreement that meets our core objectives. Since we concluded these negotiations, we have had the most consequential national security debate since the decision to invade Iraq more than a decade ago. Over the last several weeks, the more members studied the details of this deal, the more they came out in support. Today, I am heartened that so many Senators judged this deal on the merits, and am gratified by the strong support of lawmakers and citizens alike. Going forward, we will turn to the critical work of implementing and verifying this deal so that Iran cannot pursue a nuclear weapon, while pursuing a foreign policy that leaves our country - and the world - a safer place.”
In the House, some opponents of the deal, led by Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Mike Pompeo (R-KS), proposed shifting strategies and voting on three separate measures.
  1. H. Res 411 claiming that Obama did not submit all the elements of the deal to Congress, as required by the Iran Nuclear Review Act
  2. H. Res 3460 to prevent Obama from lifting sanctions on Iran
  3. H. Res 3461 to approve the deal
The House passed the first two resolutions on September 10 and 11. The third resolution failed to pass, with a vote of 162-269. But the resolutions were largely symbolic, as President Obama had enough support to ensure the deal would survive. McConnell also said that the Senate would not debate House legislation without “enough co-sponsors to override a presidential veto.” Although 25 House Democrats opposed the deal, House opponents still fell short of a veto-proof majority.
The following are statements from key Senators and members of Congress on the votes surrounding the deal.
Minority Leader Harry Reid
“The Senate has spoken with a clarion voice and declared that the historic agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon will stand.”
Sept. 10, 2015, according to the press 
"The Republicans have lost...we should move on to something else."
—Sept. 16, 2015, according to the press
Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
“There’s a cost to the international credibility of the country and this president if a motion of disapproval passes the House and the Senate. There is some harm to the country’s standing if we have to go through the charade of the veto.”
Aug. 27, 2015, according to the press
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
“I voted to support the Iran nuclear deal today because it is my firm belief that the test of a great nation is not how many wars we can engage in, but how we can use our strength and our capabilities to resolve international conflicts in a peaceful way.”
Sept. 10, 2015, in a statement
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
"They are not willing to do a vote on the merits because they’re gonna lose a vote on the merits. So they’d rather hide behind this silly argument that somehow this is a filibuster."
Sept. 10, 2015, according to the press
Gary Peters (D-MI)
"This is one of those votes of conscience where you have to look in the mirror and feel comfortable with what you're doing and have no regrets…This is one you will remember the rest of your life."
Sept. 10, 2015, according to the press
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

“The Senate should not hide behind procedure...The American people were led to believe that negotiations with Iran would be about stopping its nuclear program, but that’s not what the deal before us would do.”
—Sept. 8, 2015, in a floor statement
"At the very least we should be able to provide some protection to Israel and long-overdue relief to Americans who've languished in Iranian custody for years," in reference to McConnell's amendments proposed on September 16
—Sept. 16, 2015, according to the press
Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX)
Bob Corker (R-TN)
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
“[Voting on a resolution of disapproval] opens the door for the next president to look at this in a very different way. Bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate will have disapproved of what was negotiated”
Sept. 9, 2015, according to the press
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
"While I came to a different conclusion than many in my own caucus, I recognize for them, this is a vote of conscience…Just, as it is, for me."
Sept. 10, 2015, according to the press
Lindsay Graham (R-SC)
"Sen. [Harry] Reid has come out of nowhere to change what was the common understanding of how we would proceed…We're more worried about protecting Barack Obama from having to veto this than you are about having a debate on the floor of the Senate."
Sept. 10, 2015, according to the press

Ted Cruz (R-TX)
"If this deal goes through, we know to an absolute certainty people will die. Americans will die, Israelis will die, Europeans will die.”
Sept. 9, 2015, at an anti-deal rally with Donald Trump

Dan Coats (R-IN)

“Moving forward is a violation of the law...That will be tested in the courts.”
Sept. 15, 2015, according to the press

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
"This is historic, this is grand, this is visionary, this is about peace. Some of our members are saying this is the first time since I've been here I've been able to vote for peace rather than against war.”
Sept. 10, 2015, according to the press
Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Ranking Member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
“For the Democrats on the Committee, the [intelligence community’s] assessments and insights into Iran’s nuclear program have given us the confidence that this agreement will realistically cut off Iran's path to the bomb for at least the next decade and a half…As Members in the House continue to review the deal, we encourage them to review the classified assessments for themselves.”
Sept. 9, 2015, in a statement, after all Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee announced support for the deal
Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
"We are yet again thrown into chaos by a majority chasing its tail in a last-minute meeting, throwing together three bills that might as well be scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin...Meanwhile, the Senate has declared that they are not changing course, and in the end, we will be left with nothing."
Sept. 9, 2015, according to the press
Dan Kildee (D-MI)
Senator McConnell’s amendment contradicts what for years has been a bipartisan effort to secure the release of four American prisoners in Iran. His amendment is sadly counterproductive and does nothing to help bring Amir Hekmati or the other innocent Americans being held home. The fate of Amir and the other imprisoned Americans in Iran should never be partisan issue.”
Sept. 16, 2015, in a statement
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
"This is a bad deal with decades-long consequences for the security of the American people and our allies, and we'll use every tool at our disposal to stop, slow and delay this agreement from being fully implemented."
Sept. 10, 2015, according to the press
Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
"I think the president has broken the law — that is, he hasn't complied with his obligations under the legislation allowing Congress to review the deal.”
"If Obama lifts sanctions against Iran without Congress’ approval, "the American people will be furious and properly so because they will have a president who is brazenly violating the law with knowledge and intent."
Sept. 9, 2015, according to the press
Peter Roskam (R-IL)
"It is a scandal that the administration has not disclosed this information," referring to Iran’s agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Sept. 9, 2015, according to the press
Steve Israel (D-NY)
“As a strong and visible opponent of the Iran deal, I’m outraged by the last-minute decision of House Republican leaders to inject irresponsible partisan politics into the upcoming vote. This three-bill gimmick is designed to play political games instead of allowing a thoughtful debate on the merits of the Iran deal.”
Sept. 10, 2015, in a statement


Iranian Officials on US After the Deal

Despite the nuclear deal, top Iranian officials insisted that Tehran and Washington are not moving towards rapprochement – or cooperating on any other issues. “We allowed negotiations with the U.S. only on the nuclear issue for certain reasons, in other areas we did not and will not allow negotiations with the U.S.,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei explained in a speech on September 9. In August, 202 lawmakers issued a joint statement saying “we should never stop confronting arrogance and hegemony.” They cited the United States as a “perfect example of arrogance in the world.”

At the same time, a few other leaders suggested that the two countries could engage on other issues or begin to improve their relationship. “We are capable of settling other regional and global issues through negotiations as well,” President Hassan Rouhani said in July, according to Iranian media. “I am telling U.S. authorities and politicians that you should decide and make a major shift in policy.” In September, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said proper implementation of the nuclear deal could “create an opportunity for the U.S. to at least restore some Iranians' lost confidence.”
The following are excerpted remarks from Iranian officials, military leaders and clerics.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
“Of course, methods of hostility and harming might be modernized; however, the political, economic and cultural officials should be careful in order not to be trapped by the enemy's pre-determined plan and that any decision willingly or unwillingly should not help hostile policy of the bullying powers.”
—Aug. 26, 2015, in a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet
“They [Americans] thought this [nuclear] deal - and it is not clear if it will be passed in Iran or in America - will open up Iran to their influence. ... We waste no efforts to shut ways of infiltration into the country. We'll allow neither economic, nor political, nor cultural intrusion of U.S.”
“The US is fully devoid of human ethics and embarks on wickedness and crime with no bridle and under the guise of attractive words and smiles.”
“Creating killer, insolent and tyrant Takfiri groups, which Americans have admitted to their role in creating them, is the most important tool for stoking seemingly religious divisions among nations, which unfortunately, some naïve Muslims have been fooled by this conspiracy and plot due to their lack of insight and they have been embroiled in the enemy’s plot.”
—Aug. 17, 2015, in a speech
President Hassan Rouhani
“We solved the nuclear issue at the negotiating table. We are capable of settling other regional and global issues through negotiations as well.”
"I am telling U.S. authorities and politicians that you should decide and make a major shift in policy.”
—July 26, 2015, in a speech acccording to ISNA and the Tehran Times
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
“Our people have lost confidence in the U.S. policies and proper implementation of the nuclear agreement would create an opportunity for the U.S. to at least restore some Iranians' lost confidence.”
—Sept. 1, 2015 to reporters in Tunis
Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani
“We have seen how the United States adopted different schemes to extend its influence in the country, we have experienced its actions against the will of our nation.”

“You noticed how they [Americans] managed to maintain networks of influence in the armed forces, among our politicians and academics and businessmen.”

"So the warning by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution should be deemed as a realistic and accurate one and people should be sensitive about it."
—Aug. 19, 2015, during a session of parliament
“There are practical ways of course [to free Americans held in Iran]. For example, there is a number of Iranians in prison here [in the United States]. Definitely for matters of this sort, one can come up with solutions. I think your politicians know about those ways… That's one way [prisoner exchange]. There are other ways that the judiciary systems of the two countries can come up with. It is the judiciary that has to decide about it.”
Sept. 4, 2015, in an interview with NPR
Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari
“The enmity against the Iranian nation by the U.S. has not lessened, and it has been increased."
 “We should not be deceived by the U.S. It wants to infiltrate into Iran, resorting to new instruments and method.”
Sept. 1, 2015, in remarks via the Revolutionary Guards website and the Associated Press
“The IRGC is strongly standing beside the brave and faithful people of Islamic Iran and thanks to this resistance, sympathy and unity of words and with God's help and assistance, we will not allow the hegemonic powers to exercise influence on our country in any area.”
—Aug. 20, 2015, in a speech
Assembly of Experts Chairman Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi
“We have to be careful for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) not to change [our] foreign policy. Iran considers the U.S. as its top enemy and the crimes it is committing are uncountable.
“We have to tell the U.S. that they will definitely take to their grave the dream of Iran becoming their consumer market. … We are not to talk about bilateral and trilateral relations and the gradual flow of their companies into Iran.”
—Sept. 1, 2015 in an address to the Assembly of Experts
Senior Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is the first power in the region and it plays an important role in supporting the resistance line against the U.S. hegemony and Zionists' expansionism, and it will not allow the U.S. to influence the region for different reasons.”
“First the U.S. influence in allied and friendly countries is not acceptable to Iran, and Tehran doesn’t allow Washington to spread its clout in those states again; second, if the Americans influence the regional states, the way will be paved for their penetration in other countries.”
—Aug. 20, 2015, according to the press
“We have never been optimistic about the U.S. officials, and the measures and steps that they have taken are in line with their own interests.”
Sept. 3, 2015, in remarks to Fars News Agency
202 Members of Parliament
“We feel obliged to defend the thoughts of Imam Khomeini, who said shouting 'down with America' will bring about its collapse, and the ideas of Imam Khamenei who also said by this agreement they were seeking to infiltrate into the country; we want to entirely block this possibility, and we would not allow neither America's economic influence nor its political and cultural influence to be inflicted upon our country. On the basis of the Quran’s principles, we should never stop confronting arrogance and hegemony, and currently America is a perfect example of arrogance in the world.”
—Aug. 19, 2015 in a joint statement
Basij Force Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi
“The White House always supports the world dictators, and our hostility towards the U.S. is profound and may not be resolved through talks.”
“The Zionist regime [Israel] is now surrounded by resistance groups and all U.S. bases in the regional states are within the range of the missiles of the Islamic Revolution forces.”
—Aug. 30, 2015 in an interview with al-Alam news
“No doubt, Iran's nuclear issue is not the cause of the U.S. problem with us; they actually have a problem with Iran's Islamic establishment in essence.
“The Americans see themselves as the owner of the world and therefore, they don't sit silent when they see independent nations like the Iranian nation.”
—Sept. 10, 2015 in a speech
IRGC Political Deputy Brigadier General Rasoul Sanaei Rad
“The U.S. is seeking to exploit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a way of gaining influence upon Iran, which can have multiple economic, political, and cultural aspects.
“If we fail to be careful enough, the U.S. will immediately penetrate into our country, and greed is a decisive factor for Americans to seek influence on Iran.”
—Sept. 2, 2015, in remarks via Mehr News Agency
Brigadier General Ahmed Vahidi, President of the Strategic Defense Studies Center
“By weakening and eliminating the Resistance Axis, America is looking for influence in the region; therefore, strengthening the resistance front would be a natural and logical strategy to confront the U.S. policies in the region.”
“Currently the Islamic Republic of Iran is taking measures to confront the massive terrorism which has been brought by the West particularly the US.”
“We should avoid the America’s influence in the region because based on Imam Khomeini’s remarks, the US is the Great Satan and its influence will bring us numerous problems.”
—Aug. 29, 2015, in remarks via Mehr News Agency
Khamenei’s Deputy Representative to the Revolutionary Guards Abdullah Haji Sadeqi
“We might have agreed on the nuclear issue, but this does not mean the end of fight or reconciliation with the global arrogance [the United States].”
—Aug. 26, 2015 in a speech
Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani
“Americans know that if they want to renew their political hegemony, they will have to opt for the cultural hegemony and are, thus, thinking of carrying out such an absurd idea.”
“They will remain our enemy as long as Islam prevails, because the U.S. feels hostility towards Islam.”
“The U.S. and its allies should know that we will not stop supporting the [anti-Israeli] resistance and Palestine.”
—Aug. 20, 2015, in a sermon at Friday prayers
“[Reaching a] nuclear deal with the P5+1 [world’s six major powers] does not mean reconciliation with US.”
—Aug. 21, 2015, in a sermon at Friday prayers

Photo credits: Javad Zarif by Robin Wright, Ali Jafari via President.ir; Yazdi via Assembly of Experts website, Velayati by http://en.kremlin.ru/ via Wikimedia Commons; Larijani by Harald Dettenborn [CC BY 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons


Poll: Iran's Minorities on the Deal

Around 76 percent of Iranians approved of the nuclear deal between Iran and the world's six major powers, according to a new poll released by iPOS (Information and Public Opinion Solutions). This figure was up from 63 percent in May.

The poll asked respondents the following question:

"As you may know, Iran and the West announced that they had come to agreement regarding the nuclear program. When we talk to people some say they favor a deal, some say not. What do you think? Would you say you favor a deal between Iran and the West or not?"

Support for the deal varied among Iran's ethnic groups. Although a majority of all ethnicities approved of the agreement, support was highest among Iranian Kurds. Around 86 percent of Kurds approved of the deal, slightly more than the average for all Iranians.

The survey also found higher levels of support among Iranians Sunnis than Iranian Shiites. Around 82 percent of Sunnis supported the deal, compared to 75 percent of Sunnis.


Click here for the full results


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