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
- 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