100-Plus Former U.S. Ambassadors Applaud Iran Deal

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker speaks during the Multi-National Corps - Iraq Veterans Day Observance Monday, Nov. 12, 2007, at Camp Victory. The event marked the fifth Veterans Day since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The observance culminated with general officers from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia laying remembrance wreaths in tribute to service members who died while fighting for their respective countries.

by Jim Lobe

As the controversy over the Iran deal heats up—and it’s going to get a lot hotter, especially come September—more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors have signed on to a letter drafted by The Iran Project applauding what they characterized as a “landmark agreement” and urging its support by Congress. Signatories included former Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, Daniel Kurtzer (ambassador to Israel and Egypt), one-time neoconservative heartthrob Ryan Crocker (ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria), Frank Wisner (former ambassador to India, Egypt, the Philippines, and Zambia and under secretary of defense for international security affairs), and Thomas Pickering (former under secretary of state for political affairs and ambassador to Israel, Russia, India, and the United Nations). The letter was released on the same day that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also spoke out in favor of the deal.

Here is the letter and the list of signatories:

Dear Mr. President:

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran stands as a landmark agreement in deterring the proliferation of nuclear weapons. If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East. Without your determination and the admirable work of Secretary of State Kerry and his team, this agreement would never have been reached.

As former American diplomats, we have devoted much of our lives to ensuring that the President had available the best possible diplomatic approaches to dealing with challenges to our nation’s security, even while recognizing that a strong military is essential to help the President and the Congress to carry out their duties to protect the nation and its people. Effective diplomacy backed by credible defense will be critically important now, during the period of inspection and verification of Iran’s compliance with the agreement.

The JCPOA touches on some of America’s most important national objectives: non proliferation and the security of our friends in the Middle East particularly Israel. Ensuring the cooperation and implementation of this agreement by a hostile nation will require constant, dedicated U.S. leadership and unflagging attention.

We recognize that the JCPOA is not a perfect or risk-free settlement of this problem. However, we believe without it, the risks to the security of the United States and our friends and allies would be far greater. We are satisfied that the JCPOA will put in place a set of constraints and inspections that can assure that Iran’s nuclear program during the terms of the agreement will remain only for peaceful purposes and that no part of Iran is exempt from inspection. As with any negotiated settlement, the most durable and effective agreement is one that all sides will commit to and benefit from over the long term.

We support close Congressional involvement in the oversight, monitoring and enforcement of this agreement. Congress must be a full partner in its implementation and must evaluate carefully the value and feasibility of any alternative that would claim better to protect U.S. security and more effectively to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. In particular, Congress must give careful attention to evaluating whether alternatives would be more or less likely to narrow the options for resolving this issue without the use of force.

In our judgment the JCPOA deserves Congressional support and the opportunity to show it can work. We firmly believe that the most effective way to protect U.S. national security, and that of our allies and friends is to ensure that tough-minded diplomacy has a chance to succeed before considering other more costly and risky alternatives.

With respect,

Amb. (ret.) Diego C. Asencio, Ambassador to Colombia and Brazil
Amb. (ret.) Adrian Basora, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia
J. Brian Atwood, Administrator of USAID and Under Secretary of State for Management
Amb. (ret.) William M. Bellamy, Ambassador to Kenya
Amb. (ret.) John R. Beyrle, Ambassador to Russia and Bulgaria
Amb. (ret.) James Keough Bishop, Ambassador to Niger, Liberia and Somalia
Amb. (ret.) Barbara K. Bodine, Ambassador to Yemen
Amb. (ret.) Avis Bohlen, Assistant Secretary for Arms Control
Amb. (ret.) Eric J. Boswell, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security
Amb. (ret.) Stephen Bosworth, Ambassador to the Republic of Korea
Amb. (ret.) Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia
Amb. (ret.) Kenneth C. Brill, Ambassador to the IAEA, UN and founder of the U.S. National Counterproliferation Center
Amb (ret.) Kenneth L. Brown, Ambassador to Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ghana
Amb. (ret.) A. Peter Burleigh, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Amb. (ret.) Nicholas Burns, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador to Greece and NATO
Amb. (ret.) James F. Collins, Ambassador to the Russian Federation and Ambassador at Large for the New Independent States
Amb. (ret.) Edwin G. Corr, Ambassador to Peru, Bolivia and El Salvador
Amb. (ret.) William Courtney, Commissioner, Bilateral Consultative Commission to implement the Threshold Test Ban Treaty
Amb. (ret.) Ryan Crocker, Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait, and Lebanon
Amb. (ret.) James B. Cunningham, Ambassador to Israel, Afghanistan and the United Nations
Amb. (ret.) Walter L. Cutler, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Tunisia
Amb. (ret.) Ruth A. Davis, Ambassador to the Republic of Benin and Director General of the Foreign Service
Amb. (ret.) John Gunther Dean, Ambassador to India
Amb. (ret.) Shaun Donnelly, Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Amb. (ret.) Harriet L. Elam-Thomas, Ambassador to Senegal
Amb. (ret.) Theodore L. Eliot Jr., Ambassador to Afghanistan
Amb. (ret.) Nancy Ely-Raphel, Ambassador to Slovenia
Amb. (ret.) Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Assistant Secretary of Defense and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Amb. (ret.) Robert Gallucci, Ambassador at Large
Amb. (ret.) Robert S. Gelbard, President’s Special Representative for the Balkans
David C. Gompert, former Acting Director of National Intelligence
Amb. (ret.) James E. Goodby, Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Security and Dismantlement, and Ambassador to Finland
Amb. (ret.) Marc Grossman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Ambassador to Turkey
Amb. (ret.) Brandon Grove, Director Foreign Service Institute
Amb. (ret.)William Harrop, Ambassador to Israel, Guinea, Kenya, and Seychelles
Amb. (ret.) Ulric Haynes, Jr. Ambassador to Algeria
Amb. (ret.) Donald Hays, Ambassador to the United Nations
Amb. (ret.) Heather M. Hodges, Ambassador to Ecuador and Moldova
Amb. (ret.) Karl Hofmann, Ambassador to Togo
Amb. (ret.) Thomas C. Hubbard, Ambassador to the Republic of Korea
Amb. (ret.) Vicki Huddleston, Ambassador to Mali and Madagascar
Thomas L. Hughes, former Assistant Secetary of State for Intelligence and Research
Amb. (ret.) Dennis Jett, Ambassador to Mozambique and Peru
Amb. (ret.) Beth Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia
Amb. (ret.) James R. Jones, Ambassador to Mexico and formerly Member of Congress and White House Chief of Staff
Amb. (ret.) Theodore Kattouf, Ambassador to Syria and United Arab Emirates
Amb. (ret.) Richard D. Kauzlarich, Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Amb. (ret.) Kenton W. Keith, Ambassador to Qatar
Amb. (ret.) Roger Kirk, Ambassador to Romania and Somalia
Amb. (ret.) John C. Kornblum, Ambassador to Germany and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
Amb. (ret.) Eleni Kounalakis, Ambassador to Hungary
Amb. (ret.) Daniel Kurtzer, Ambassador to Israel and Egypt
Amb. (ret.) Bruce Laingen, Chargé d’Affaires in Tehran (1979)
Frank E. Loy, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs
Amb. (ret.) William Luers, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Venezuela
Amb. (ret.) Princeton N. Lyman, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
Amb. (ret.) John F. Maisto, Ambassador to Organization of American States, Venezuela, Nicaragua
Amb. (ret.) Jack Matlock, Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Special Assistant to the President for National Security
Amb. (ret.) Donald F. McHenry, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Amb. (ret.) Thomas E. McNamara, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Ambassador to Colombia, and at Large for Counterterrorism
Amb. (ret.) William B. Milam, Ambassador to Pakistan and Bangladesh
Amb. (ret.) Tom Miller, Ambassador to Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina
Amb. (ret.) George E. Moose, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador to Benin, Senegal
Amb. (ret.) Cameron Munter, Ambassador to Pakistan and Serbia
Amb. (ret.) Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Amb. (ret.) Ronald E. Neumann, Ambassador to Afghanistan, Algeria, and Bahrain
Amb. (ret.) Thomas M. T. Niles, Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Canada and Ambassador to Greece
Phyllis E. Oakley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Intelligence and Research
Amb. (ret.) W. Robert Pearson, Ambassador to Turkey
Amb. (ret.) Robert H. Pelletreau, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affair
Amb. (ret.) Pete Peterson, Ambassador to Vietnam
Amb. (ret.) Thomas Pickering, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador to Israel, Russia, India, United Nations, El Salvador, Nigeria and Jordan
Amb. (ret.) Joan M. Plaisted, Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Kitibati
Amb. (ret.) Nicholas Platt, Ambassador to Pakistan, Philippines, and Zambia
Amb. (ret.) Anthony Quainton, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic security or Director General of the Foreign Service
Amb. (ret.) Robin L. Raphel, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia
Amb. (ret.) Charles A. Ray, Ambassador to Zimbabwe and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs
Amb (ret.) Arlene Render, Ambassador to The Gambia, Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire
Amb. (ret.) Julissa Reynoso, Ambassador to Uruguay
Amb. (ret.) Francis J. Ricciardone, Ambassador to Egypt, Turkey, the Philippines, and Palau
Amb. (ret.) Rozanne L. Ridgway, Assistant Secretary for Europe and Canada and Counselor of the Department
Amb. (ret.) Peter F. Romero, Assistant Secretary of State
Amb. (ret.) Theodore Sedgwick, Ambassador to Slovakia
Amb. (ret.) J. Stapleton Roy, Ambassador to China and Indonesia
Amb. (ret.) William A. Rugh, Ambassador to Yemen and the United Arab Emirates
Amb. (ret.) Janet A Sanderson, Ambassador to Algeria and Haiti
Amb. (ret.) Teresita C. Schaffer, Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Amb. (ret.) Howard B. Schaffer, Ambassador to Bangladesh
Amb. (ret.) Raymond G. H. Seitz, Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Amb. (ret.) John Shattuck, Ambassador to the Czech Republic
Amb. (ret.) Ronald I. Spiers, Ambassador to Pakistan, Turkey and Assistant Secretary for Politico-Military Affairs
Amb. (ret.) William Lacy Swing, Ambassador to South Africa, Nigeria, Haiti, Congo-DRC, Liberia, and Republic of Congo
Amb. (ret.) Patrick Nickolas Theros, Ambassador to the State of Qatar
Arturo A. Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Amb. (ret.) William J. Vanden Heuvel, Deputy Permanent United States Representative to the United Nations
Amb. (ret.) Nicholas A. Veliotes, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Amb. (ret.) Richard N. Viets, Ambassador to Jordan
Amb. (ret.) Edward S. Walker, Jr., Ambassador to Israel, Egypt and United Arab Emirates
Amb. (ret.) Alexander F. Watson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Ambassador to Peru
Amb. (ret.) Melissa Wells, Ambassador to Estonia, DRC-Congo, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau
Amb. (ret.) Philip C. Wilcox Junior, Ambassador at Large for Counter Terrorism
Molly K. Williamson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Defense, and Commerce
Amb. (ret.) Frank Wisner, Ambassador to India, Egypt, the Philippines and Zambia, and Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs
Amb. (ret.) John Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation
Amb. (ret.) Kenneth Yalowitz, Ambassador to Belarus and Georgia

Photo: Ryan Crocker

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Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.

2 Comments

  1. So sad, so many are in denial as diplomatic corps about Iran and the threat they pose to world peace. This “deal”will ensure war for our children and grandchildren. John Kerry is no diplomat. I notice this site does not allow cross opinion dialogue. Enjoy your shared ignorance. We need to change our diplomatic corp at the U.S. State Department in order to protect the interests of our nation.

  2. @ Prof M.G. Aldridge

    What can equating the absence of your ‘cross opinion dialogue’ with the readers’ ‘ignorance’ tell us about you, Prof Aldridge? or about the Jewish American groups who are reported to have pledged to spend millions of dollars to influence the Congress to oppose the recent agreement between Iran and 5+1 group; implying the 5+1 cannot represent the International Community to have the final say, nor the American President or the American Congress – unless it is an Israeli American Congress. What does it tell us?

    How timely that this week in Germany a 94 year old former Auschwitz accountant was convicted and sentenced, not as a perpetrator of crime but as a witness, hence as an ‘accomplice’. Many have continued to condemn the ordinary Germans for their silent complicity in the Nazi crimes some have called the ordinary Germans ‘Hitler’s willing executioners’, many have even continued to condemn the Germans’ post-Holocaust generations, even their grandchildren of complicity in their fathers and forefathers’ crimes. I wonder how many of the Israelis who have continued to keep silent at the apartheid Israel’s savage massacre of Palestinian women and children over decades or participated in those abominable crimes have ever been condemned as ‘accomplices’ in the Zionist regime’s crimes?! I have never seen any report, have you? Have you ever condemned their ‘right to self-defense’ atrocities? The Zionists even claim ‘moral high ground’, despite being condemned for war crimes by millions of Muslims, Christians and even certain Jewish groups – such arrogance, Professor Aldridge! What does it tell us about your children, grandchildren, and our children in the future?!

    No wonder the Zionists strive to claim universalism, deploying every propaganda to claim they ‘alone’ have the moral authority to speak for world peace and values, not Germany, not France, not Britain, not China or Russia or even America! And how astonishing that they urgently need ‘protection’ while sitting on arsenal of nuclear weapons, receiving billions of dollars in advanced military support while celebrating their appropriation of the Palestinian lands and demolition of the Palestinian homes and trampling over the mutilated body of Palestinian History! I also wonder, of these 100 plus pro-Israeli former American ambassadors concerned with ‘world peace’ how many have ever been concerned with Israel’s nuclear arsenal and its genocidal military attacks on civilians?! Yes, I am inviting you to begin your dialogue here, then maybe from your concern for ‘world peace’ I will be able to better understand the blood stained paranoia behind the Zionist crimes and claim to ‘universalism’ to represent the ‘International Community’ in the name of ‘world peace’/’self-defense’; because all I see is well publicized paranoia, thirst for more bloodshed and mastery of the Middle East under the pretext of confronting Iran’s non-existent ‘nuclear bomb’ to protect Israel.

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