Calls Increase for Fixing Weaknesses in Iranian Nuclear Deal

Two recently released letters call for the strengthening of the nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and fixing the deficiencies that allow the deal to provide Iran with “a legal glide path to a nuclear weapons arsenal.”

A letter organized by Ray Takeyh a senior fellow on the Council of Foreign Relations and Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and signed by experts and former high-ranking government officials, faults the deal for “Its cascade of sunset clauses, permissive advanced centrifuge research and development schedule, lax inspection regime, and refusal to address Iran’s growing ballistic missile threat,” and calls on Congress and the president to establish “clear conditions for any sanctions relief provided under the JCPOA to continue.”

In addition to Takeyh and Dubowitz, among the experts and government officials who signed the letter are Olli Heinonen, former deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), David Albright, a former weapons inspector and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams, former Assistant Secretary of State Mary Beth Long, former Senator Joseph Lieberman and Amb. Joseph DeTrani, former Senior Advisor to the Director of National Intelligence.

A second letter was sent by a group of senators to United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, urging her to work towards bolstering “the inspection and verification regime of the JCPOA to ensure that the deal is fully and verifiably enforced.”

The senators’ letter, was spearheaded by Sen. David Perdue (R – Ga.), focused on Section T of the JCPOA which governs “activities which could contribute to the design and development of a nuclear explosive device.” IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said last month that “more clarification” about those activities by Iran “would be helpful” in allowing his agency to verify Iran’s compliance with the deal.

The senators also noted that the IAEA has been prevented from inspecting Iranian military sites and that “without visits to military sites, the IAEA cannot make a credible conclusion that Iran is meeting its Section T obligations.”

The letter also urged Haley to press the IAEA to improve its monitoring of Iran’s uranium mining operations, improve its reporting on Iran’s uranium conversion facilities and provide more information about Iran’s uranium enrichment activities.

The goal of strengthening the IAEA’s hand in these matter, the senators concluded, would be to “better deny Iran’s access to a nuclear weapons capability,” than the deal currently does.

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