53 National Security Leaders Hail JCPOA Implementation Day

by Jim Lobe

More than four dozen former senior national-security officials and members of Congress have issued a statement hailing Saturday’s announcement of “Implementation Day” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and citing it as a reaffirmation of “the value of diplomacy as an invaluable tool for conflict resolution.” 

The statement, which was issued by New York-based The Iran Project, called the deal’s implementation “a major advance in stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons” and called on close cooperation between the executive branch and Congress in monitoring Iran’s compliance and reacting to possible violations.

The Iran Project, whose own unofficial diplomacy helped set the stage for the negotiations that led both to the initial November 2013 Joint Plan of Action and the subsequent JCPOA concluded last July, has also played a key role in mobilizing elite opinion in support of the Obama administration’s efforts to reach an agreement.

Among the signers of Monday’s statement are long-time advocates of U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran, including former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft. Other signers included former UN Ambassador Thomas Pickering; former head of the U.S. Central Command, Adm. William “Fox” Fallon; former 9/11 Commission co-chair Rep. Lee Hamilton; former ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker; and former Senate Foreign Relations Chairman, Dick Lugar; and former Defense Secretary William Perry.

Statement by National Security Leaders Welcoming the Announcement of the Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, January 18, 2016

We welcome and support the announcement of implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on January 16, 2016. This action marks an unprecedented success in the longstanding international effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Implementation Day is the day on which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran has complied with its nuclear related JCPOA commitments. Specifically Iran has:

– Shipped out of the country 9,700 kilograms of enriched uranium, leaving a stockpile that will not exceed 300 kilograms of low enriched uranium (LEU) for at least 15 years, far less than half of what would be necessary to build a nuclear weapon if the LEU were highly enriched.

– Removed 13,940 installed centrifuges and stored them under IAEA control, leaving only 5,060 centrifuges each limited to enriching to no more than 3.67%.

– Ceased enriching uranium under close IAEA inspection in the deep underground facility at Fordow, which will be converted to a nuclear, physics and technology research center.

– Neutered the Arak plutonium reactor which, together with limits on reprocessing, means Iran does not have a plutonium path to the bomb.

As a result of these changes, Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon has—for the first time in nearly a decade—been dramatically reduced. Iran cannot produce a nuclear weapon in less than a year, a significant improvement over the threat of a 2-3 month race to a bomb that Iran could have run prior to the deal.

Moreover, Iran’s nuclear program is now under some of the most sweeping inspections and transparency obligations in history, many of which will remain in place for decades. If Iran were to attempt to start a new nuclear weapons program, it would be detected. If Iran’s leaders were to decide to race to build a nuclear weapon, the U.S. and its allies would have time to react.

Implementation Day also means that nuclear related sanctions imposed on Iran will be lifted. The threat of sanctions snap-back and the economic damage this would cause, as well as the promise of economic benefits from the sanctions relief in the JCPOA, will help to ensure Iranian compliance going forward.

With the main provisions of the JCPOA now in place, we call on the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government to turn to the rigorous verification of Iran’s continuing compliance. The U.S. and others will be able to test this agreement by means of the greatly enhanced verification measures. Violations of the agreement must not be overlooked or tolerated. The U.S. must be disciplined and vigilant to ensure strict compliance on every aspect of the agreement.

New mechanisms for cooperation should be established between the executive and legislative branches to monitor compliance and evaluate suspected violations. Mutual trust between these branches of government must be developed so that in eight years’ time, when the U.S. will be called on by the JCPOA to lift some key nuclear related sanctions on Iran, both branches will share a common understanding of Iran’s record of compliance.

The U.S. will continue to have serious disagreements with Iran over its regional actions, its internal policies, its missile program, and its support for terrorism. U.S. actions must make clear to Tehran that the JCPOA does not end these disagreements and that the U.S. will respond appropriately to Iranian activities outside its borders and to violations of human rights within them. U.S. efforts will be buttressed by the presence of continuing U.S. unilateral and secondary sanctions on these Iranian activities.

This unprecedented agreement has reaf?rmed the value of diplomacy as an invaluable tool for con?ict resolution. U.S. leadership has brought about this unprecedented agreement and U.S. leadership will be necessary to assure that the international community achieves its continuing objective of preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon. Our allies and friends in the region and around the world will continue to look to the U.S. to give the JCPOA its best chance to make the world secure from an Iranian nuclear threat and achieve a major advance in stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Graham Allison, Assistant Secretary of Defense

Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. National Security Advisor

BGen Stephen A. Cheney (ret.),U.S. Marine Corps

Joseph Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund

Amb. (ret.) Chester A. Crocker, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

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

Tom Daschle, U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader

Suzanne DiMaggio, Director and Senior Fellow at New America

Amb. (ret.) James Dobbins, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Robert Einhorn, Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation and the Secretary of State’s Special Advisor  for Nonproliferation and Arms Control

Adm. William J. Fallon (ret.), U.S. Navy, Commander of U.S. Central Command

Leslie H. Gelb, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs and Director of Policy Planning and Arms Control at the Department of Defense

Philip Gordon, Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East,  North Africa and the Gulf Region

Morton H. Halperin, Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State and Deputy Assistant Secretary of  Defense for Planning and Arms Control

Lee H. Hamilton, U.S. Representative and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Amb. (ret.) William C. Harrop, Ambassador to Israel and Inspector General of the State Department

Stephen B. Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Amb. (ret.) Carla A. Hills, U.S. Trade Representative

James Hoge, Former Editor of Foreign Affairs Magazine

  1. Bennett Johnston, U.S. Senator

LTG Frank Kearney (ret.), U.S. Army, Deputy Director for Strategic Operational Planning at the National Counter-Terrorism Center

Amb. (ret.) Daniel Kurtzer, Ambassador to Israel and Egypt

Amb. (ret.) John Limbert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran

Amb. (ret.) Winston Lord, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific; Ambassador to China and Director of Policy Planning, Department of State

Amb. (ret.) William H. Luers, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Venezuela

Richard G. Lugar, U.S. Senator and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Jessica T. Mathews, Director of the Office of Global Issues of the National Security Council

Amb. (ret.) William G. Miller, Ambassador to Ukraine

Amb. (ret.) Richard W. Murphy, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs

Vali Nasr, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and Dean of Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies

Richard Nephew, Director for Iran at the National Security Council and Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State

Joseph Nye, Assistant Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the National Intelligence Council

Admiral (ret.) Eric Olson, U.S. Navy and Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command

Paul O’Neill, U.S. Secretary of Treasury

William Perry, U.S. Secretary of Defense

Amb. (ret.) Thomas Pickering, Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Undersecretary of State for  Political Affairs; Ambassador to Israel, Russia, India, El Salvador, Nigeria and Jordan

Paul R. Pillar, National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia

Amb. (ret.) Nicholas Platt, Ambassador to Pakistan, Philippines and Zambia

William Reinsch, Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration and President  National Foreign Trade Council

Amb. (ret.) J. Stapleton Roy, Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research and Ambassador to China,  Indonesia and Singapore

Barnett R. Rubin, Senior Adviser to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Karim Sadjadpour, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Gen. (ret.) Brent Scowcroft, U.S. National Security Advisor

Gary Sick, Director of the Office of Iran and the Persian Gulf of the National Security Council

Jim Slattery, U.S. Representative

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State

Mark Udall, U.S. Senator

Amb. (ret.) Nicholas A. Veliotes, Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East and South Asia and Ambassador to Egypt and Jordan

Amb. (ret.) Edward S. Walker, Jr., Ambassador to Israel, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates

James Walsh, Research Associate at MIT’s Security Studies Program

Col. (ret.) Lawrence Wilkerson, U.S. Army and Chief of Staff to the Secretary of State

Timothy E. Wirth, U.S. Senator

Amb. (ret.) Frank Wisner,Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs and Ambassador to India, Egypt, the Philippines and Zambia*

The signers of this statement are either former senior officials of the U.S. government or prominent national security leaders who have not held senior government positions.

The positions listed after the names of the former government officials are the senior posts held while in government. The positions listed after the names of those who were not from the government are listed with their current position.

Photo: Zbigniew Brzezinski

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.


One Comment

  1. Thank you Jim Lobe. Don’t see this kind of reporting anywhere else in the MSM! Not surprising of course. Wondering if these positive views will have a positive impact on the Nay Sayers in the US congress or will they ignore them because their own masters won’t allow them to change their minds?

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