Diplomacy

Senior Democrat on House Foreign Affairs Committee: U.S. Will Have to Renegotiate Nuke Deal

Brad Sherman (D – Calif.), the second ranking democratic member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, questioned whether the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was capable of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and expressed his skepticism of the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), suggesting that it will need to be renegotiated in an interview with José Díaz-Balart on MSNBC yesterday.

In the interview, Sherman raised the possibility that Iran could use the cash windfall it will receive from sanctions relief to purchase a nuclear weapon from North Korea. He also questioned whether the IAEA was equipped to deal with a rogue state such as Iran effectively.

The agreement between the IAEA and Iran, which we’re rely relying on, no one in the U.S. government has a copy of. It’s not clear whether we’ve been able to read it. That is the tradition with the IAEA. But the traditions of the IAEA, the nuclear watchdog, those traditions are about how to prevent the Netherlands from having a nuclear weapon, how to make sure Costa Rica doesn’t do it. The traditions of the IAEA don’t fit dealing with a country like Iran.

Sherman further warned that when the deal expires, “there’ll be no stopping” Iran’s nuclear aspirations and that it will be necessary to renegotiate the deal.

Well the deal involves some good and some bad aspects right at the very beginning. … We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that under the deal Iran has to get rid of 95% of its stockpile of low enriched uranium and decommission two thirds of its centrifuges.

I might be able to live with the first year of the deal. It’s the deal ten, fifteen years down the road that’s completely unacceptable because it envisions just an enormous number of highly efficient centrifuges and if Iran ever has that industrial scale capacity, there’ll be no stopping them.

So my goal is to make it clear that this agreement is not binding on the American people, Congress or future administrations. We’re going to have force a re-negotiation of this deal, if not now, then in the years to come.

Bloomberg View reported yesterday that a high-ranking French official, Jacques Audibert, told two congressional leaders that if Congress rejects the JCPOA, the West would be able to renegotiate a better deal, and that this analysis was “having an effect on how members of Congress, especially House Democrats, are thinking about the deal.” The French government has denied that Audibert made the remarks.

[Photo: MSNBC Screenshot ]