On Thursday, 45 national security experts, many of whom held senior positions in the nuclear weapons, arms control, nonproliferation and intelligence fields, sent a letter to President Trump urging him to withdraw the United States from the deeply flawed 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran (the JCPOA) using a comprehensive plan drafted by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
The signatories believe President Trump was exactly right during the campaign when he said the JCPOA is one of the worst agreements ever negotiated. They believe this agreement is dangerous because it allows Iran to continue its pursuit of nuclear weapons while the deal is in effect, has extremely weak verification provisions, and ignores Iran’s increasingly destabilizing behavior.
Because of the enormous risks the JCPOA poses to American and international security and the impossibility of convincing Iran to amend the agreement, the signers believe the only option is for the United States to withdraw and initiate a new, more comprehensive approach that addresses all of the threats posed by Iran – including its missile program and sponsorship of terrorism – with a broad alliance that includes Israel and America’s Gulf State allies.
The signatories endorse Ambassador Bolton’s plan to implement this approach by withdrawing from the JCPOA in coordination with America’s allies. The signers believe the Bolton plan is the best way to reverse the damage done by the reckless concessions that Obama officials made to Iran to negotiate the JCPOA and to prevent the Iranian nuclear program from spinning out of control as North Korea’s nuclear effort has.
Some of the eminent individuals who signed the letter include Gen. William G. Boykin, USA (Ret.), Former Deputy under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Ambassador Henry F. “Hank” Cooper, Former Chief U.S. Negotiator for Defense and Space and SDI Director, Manfred Eimer, Former Assistant Director for Verification and Intelligence, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Douglas J. Feith, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, William R. Graham, Former Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Ambassador Robert G. Joseph, Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Ambassador C. Paul Robinson, former President and Director of Sandia National Laboratories, and Admiral James A. Lyons, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Former Commander-in Chief, Pacific Fleet.
The letter sent to President Trump said:
Dear President Trump:
We are writing to you as national security experts, many who worked in the nuclear weapons, arms control, and nonproliferation and intelligence fields, to express our strong opposition to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) and to ask that you withdraw the United States from this dangerous agreement as soon as possible.
We also call on your administration to declare to Congress next month that Iran has not been complying with this agreement and that it is not in the national security interests of the United States.
We strongly supported your statements during the 2016 presidential campaign that the JCPOA was one of the worst international agreements ever negotiated and as president that you would either withdraw from or renegotiate this deal. Your campaign statements accurately reflected that the JCPOA is a fraud since it allows Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program while the agreement is in effect by permitting it to enrich uranium, operate and develop advanced uranium centrifuges and operate a heavy-water reactor. Such limited restrictions as the deal actually imposes on Iran’s enrichment program will expire in eight years. In addition, the JCPOA’s inspection provisions are wholly inadequate.
We also note that a joint July 11, 2017 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from Senators Cruz, Rubio, Cotton and Perdue outlined significant violations of the JCPOA by Iran, the most important of which is Iran’s refusal to permit IAEA inspections of military facilities.
In addition, although the JCPOA did not require Iran to halt its belligerent and destabilizing behavior, President Obama and Secretary Kerry repeatedly claimed it would lead to an improvement. This has not happened. To the contrary, after the JCPOA, Iran’s behavior has significantly worsened. Tehran stepped up its ballistic missile program and missile launches. There was a 90% increase in Iran’s 2016-2017 military budget. Iran has increased its support to terrorist groups and sent troops into Syria. Harassment of shipping in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea also increased, including missiles fired at U.S. and Gulf state ships by the Houthi rebels, an Iranian proxy in Yemen.
Moreover, in light of major advances in North Korea’s nuclear program, we are very concerned that North Korea and Iran are actively sharing nuclear weapons technology and that Iran is providing funding for North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. CIA Director Mike Pompeo suggested this possibility during a September 11 Fox News interview.
We are unconvinced by doom-and-gloom predictions of the consequences of a U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA. The sky did not fall when you withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. Claims that Iran will step up its nuclear program or engage in more belligerent behavior must be considered against the backdrop of what Iran is allowed to do under the JCPOA and its actual conduct since this “political understanding” was announced.
Some Iran deal advocates argue that the United States should remain in the JCPOA and instead try to amend it to fix its flaws over several years. A few contend you could decertify the agreement to Congress, but remain in the deal and then try to amend it. Since Iran has made it clear it will not agree to changes to the JCPOA, we believe these proposals are unrealistic. Continuing to legitimate the agreement is not conducive to its renegotiation. The day will never come when the mullahs agree to amend the sweetheart deal they got in the JCPOA.
Ambassador John Bolton has drawn up a plan to implement a far more effective, comprehensive and multilateral approach to address the threat from Iran. This approach includes strict new sanctions to bar permanently the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran. He also calls for new sanctions in response to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and efforts to destabilize the Middle East, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Unlike the JCPOA, which was negotiated with no input from America’s allies in the Middle East, Ambassador Bolton outlines a multilateral campaign to forge a new comprehensive approach to the threat from Iran that includes the Gulf States and Israel to assure that their security interests are taken into account.
We agree with Ambassador John Bolton that strong international sanctions, a tough negotiating strategy and a decisive American president who will not engage in appeasement is the best approach to rein in Iran’s belligerent behavior and induce it to joining negotiations on a better agreement.
As national security experts who understand the urgency of addressing the growing threat from Iran, we urge you to implement the Bolton plan, withdraw from the dangerous Iran nuclear deal and not certify Iranian compliance to Congress next month. It is time to move beyond President Obama’s appeasement of Iran and to begin work on a comprehensive new approach that fully addresses the menace that the Iranian regime increasingly poses to American and international security.
Winston Lewis Amselem, U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Minister-Counselor (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, USA (Ret.), Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, Former Chief U.S. Negotiator for Defense and Space and SDI Director
Stephen Coughlin, Former Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence analyst
Jack David, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction and Negotiations Policy
Paula A. DeSutter, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance
Joseph E. diGenova, Former U.S. Attorney District of Columbia
Jessie Jane Duff, Gunnery Sergeant USMC (Ret.), Senior Fellow London Center for Policy Research
Dr. Manfred Eimer, Former Assistant Director for Verification and Intelligence, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Fritz Ermarth, Retired CIA officer, Former chairman of the National Intelligence Council
Douglas J. Feith, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Frederick Fleitz, Former CIA analyst and Professional Staff Member, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Kevin D. Freeman, National Security Investment Counsel Institute
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (Acting)
Daniel J. Gallington, Former General Counsel, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Member, U.S. Delegation to the Nuclear & Space Talks
Scott George, Brigadier General, USAF (Ret.). President/CEO, IN-Cyber Vision, Inc.
Dr. William R. Graham, Former Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Science Advisor to the President; NASA Administrator and Chairman of the General Advisory Committee (GAC) on Arms Control and Disarmament
Larry K. Grundhauser, Brigadier General, USAF Retired; Former Director of Intelligence, HQ Air Combat Command; Former Vice Director for Intelligence; Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Former Arms Control Policy Advisor US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Philip Haney, Department of Homeland Security founding staff member and former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer
George William Heiser II, Former Director for Arms Control, Reagan National Security Council Staff
Richard T. Higgins, Former Director for Strategic Planning, Trump National Security Council
Peter Huessy, President, GeoStrategic Analysis, Former Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior for International Energy Security
Ambassador Eric M. Javits, Former US Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament and to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Ambassador Robert G. Joseph, Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Assistant to the President on Arms Control and Nonproliferation; and Chairman of the ABM Treaty Standing Consultative Commission
Morton A. Klein, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President
Dr. Charles M. Kupperman, Former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan; former Executive Director, General Advisory Committee to the President on Arms Control and Disarmament
Herbert I. London, President, London Center for Policy Research
Clare Lopez, Former CIA Officer
Robert L. Luaces, Foreign Service Officer (Ret.). Former Director, State Department Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs
Admiral James A. Lyons, U.S. Navy (Ret.). Former Commander-in Chief, Pacific Fleet
Lt. Gen Thomas McInerney, US Air Force (Ret.), Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Director of the Defense Performance Review
Vice Admiral Robert R. Monroe, U.S. Navy (Ret.). Former Director, Defense Nuclear Agency
Daniel Pollak, Co-Director of Government Relations, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)
Michael Pregent, Director of Veterans Against the Iran Deal
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, Executive Director, Task Force on National and Homeland Security; Senior Staff on the Congressional EMP Commission, Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA
George Rasley, Editor of ConservativeHQ and consultant
Major General Edward M. Reeder, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Ambassador C. Paul Robinson, Former President and Director of Sandia National Laboratories. Head of the Nuclear Weapons and National Security programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Chief Negotiator and Head of the U.S. Delegation to the U.S./Soviet Union Nuclear Testing Talks.
Nina Rosenwald, Founder and President, Gatestone Institute
Mark Schneider,Senior analyst, National Institute for Public Policy. Former Senior Director for Forces Policy and Principal Director for Strategic Defense, Space and Verification Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense. Former Senior Foreign Service Officer.
Tony Shaffer, LTC (ret), Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Operations, London Center for Policy Research. Former CIA-trained senior intelligence operative
Sarah Stern,Founder and President, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Kenneth R. Timmerman, President and CEO, Foundation for Democracy in Iran
Victoria Toensing, Former Chief Counsel, Senate Intelligence Committee
Adam Turner, General Counsel and Legislative Affairs Director, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Michael Waller, Founding Editorial Board Member, NATO Defence Strategic Communications
David Wurmser, Former Senior Advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney
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