The final nuclear deal will permanently improve the international community’s capability to verify Iran’s activities, according to U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — is built upon a foundation of deep nuclear science and technology in both limiting Iran’s nuclear program and introducing necessary verification measures,” he wrote in a new article. From February to July, Moniz played a key role in the negotiations between Iran and the world's six major powers. The following are excerpts from his piece on Medium.com.
On August 28, Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement marking the four-year anniversary of U.S. citizen Amir Hekmati’s detention in Iran. Iranian authorities arrested Hekmati—a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen born in Arizona and a former Marine— in August 2011 for allegedly working for the CIA. A 2012 retrial overturned the espionage conviction and instead charged him with “cooperating with hostile governments.” He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The following is the full text of Kerry’s statement and information on recent Congressional action on this issue.
The following are excerpted statements by U.S. officials on the final nuclear deal that was announced by the world’s six major powers and Iran on July 14.
Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power
"If the United States rejects this deal, we would instantly isolate ourselves from the countries that spent nearly two years working with American negotiators to hammer out its toughest provisions. Those partners believe that this is a sound deal—with a rigorous set of inspection measures that would allow us to know if Iran is not playing by the rules. And those countries have been very clear that they are not prepared to walk away from this deal to try to secure different terms. So if we walk away, there is no diplomatic door number two. No do over. No rewrite of the deal on the table."
"In the case of Iran, the United States persuaded other countries to apply pressure for a purpose—in order to secure significant, long-term constraints that would cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon. If we move the goalpost now—arguing, for example, that there should not be sanctions relief until Iran stops supporting terrorist proxies or until it permanently gives up nuclear enrichment for peaceful purposes—we would give detractors a powerful tool to try to obstruct our future efforts on issues unrelated to Iran. Our efforts to reach this deal have affirmed the view of the United States as a tough but principled leader; rejecting it would be read in many quarters as a superpower intent on inflicting pain for its own sake."
"The Iran nuclear deal has been championed by the president of the United States, every one of America’s European friends and countless other countries around the world. If Congress rejects the deal, we will project globally an America that is internally divided, unreliable and dismissive of the views of those with whom we built Iran’s sanctions architecture in the first place."
—Aug. 26, 2015, in an op-ed in Politico
Secretary of State John Kerry
—July 19, 2015, on CNN’s State of the Union
Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman
“Today’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an historic deal that will cut off all pathways to a nuclear weapon, cements intrusive inspections that will be at an unprecedented level, and ensures that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. This significant accomplishment would not have been possible without strong and rigorously applied economic sanctions, which were designed and enforced by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations, alongside many others worldwide. These sanctions disrupted Iran's access to the materials and infrastructure necessary to develop its nuclear program, more than halved its oil exports, and severed its banking system from the world – providing the leverage necessary to compel Iran to negotiate in a constructive and serious way.
By #IranDeal whose approval is of question either here or there,they intended to find a way to infiltrate into the country.We shut this way.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) August 17, 2015
Leader addressing Cabinet: Concluding #IranTalks was of main accomplishments and we hope any possible problem for it would be resolved— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) August 26, 2015
Tactics of hostility and detriment might have changed and been revised, but all authorities must beware of playing role in enemy’s plots.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) August 26, 2015
President Hassan Rouhani
U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 “is an unprecedented event in the history of the Islamic republic of Iran. Iran's goal was to attain its legal right to enrich uranium and today, the UNSC has explicitly accepted this."
"We were in a [football] field where our diplomats were on one side, and on the other, the six world powers were present. In this competition, the referee favored the other side; we won this competition."
—July 22, 2015, in a cabinet meeting
Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani
“This is definitely a trade-off, and no one would claim a maximal gain for Iran in the JCPOA. However, the major issues of concern for Iran had been well-balanced vis-à-vis the Western demands, which is first to retain the enrichment right and second removal of sanctions, which will not be without its own consequences.”
—Aug. 8, 2015 in an address to Parliament’s Joint Budget Commission as reported by Khorosan
The nuclear deal is a “national achievement” that should lead to growth in production and prosperity in the cultural, defense and science fields.
—July 23, 2015 according to IRIB News
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iran achieved its goals of “maintaining Iran’s dignity and might, establishing the nuclear program [of the country], enrichment and retaining the heavy-water reactor.”
“For 12 years, great powers have tried to prevent an Iranian nuclear program. But today they should tolerate thousands of centrifuges spinning, plus the continuation of research and development. This shows our power.”
Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar
“This is ultimately a step forward. This agreement is a step for the future of not only Iran and the region, but for peace at the global level.”
“I think that there is this internal debate and you can hear these different voices - some criticizing the agreement, and some opposing it entirely.”
“But in general... the majority of the Iranian people view this as a successful step forward.”
—August 2015 in an interview with the BBC
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, chief nuclear negotiator
“I completely support this agreement, and honest to God, I believe we should celebrate [it].”
—Aug. 9, 2015 at a public event in Tehran via Al Monitor
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi
“The armed forces have the most concerns about the effect of the deal on Iran's defense capabilities... but this agreement and the U.N. Security Council resolution have many advantages that the critics ignore.”
—August 8, 2015 according to Fars News Agency via Times of Oman
Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani
“The text of the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is such that it serves the interests of the Islamic Republic.”
—August 20, 2015, according to PressTV
Revolutionary Guards Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari
“Some parts of the [U.N. resolution] draft have clearly crossed the Islamic republic's red lines, especially in Iran's military capabilities… We will never accept it.”
—July 20, 2015 via Reuters
Kayhan Editor Hossein Shariatmadari
“Even by simply looking at the deal you can see some vital red lines of the Islamic Republic have not been preserved.”
—July 2015 in an editorial
Ibrahim Karkhaneh, a member of the parliamentary committee to review the nuclear deal
“The limitations [imposed on Iran] go beyond the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty].”
—Aug. 1, 2015 according to Fars New Agency
Foad Izadi, University of Tehran professor
“People realize that Iran has given away a lot of things. The nuclear program has become a symbol of national pride – and people didn’t like that the agreement came at a great price.”
—July 2015 in an interview with The Telegraph
Hossein Nejabat, a member of the parliamentary committee to review the nuclear deal
“We will not allow any intrusion to our defense and military installations… There are points of contention in the agreement.”
—July 26, 2015 via Tasnim News
Commander of Iran's Basij Force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi
“Any Iranian who reads the Vienna documents will hate the US 100 times more [than in the past].”
“All paragraphs of the resolution that the U.S. proposed to the U.N. Security Council are full of enmity towards Iran and show the U.S.’ deep grudge against the Iranian nation.”
“The U.S. needs the agreement merely to legalize the sanctions and continue pressure against Iran.”
—July 21, 2015, according to Fars News Agency
Garrett Nada is the assistant editor of The Iran Primer at USIP.
Iranian Lawmakers on Nuclear Deal
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