Other panelists included former Congressman Joseph Lieberman, Ambassador R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence and Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Dr. Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Ambassador Robert G. Joseph, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; and Lawrence Haas, former senior White House official.
Lieberman addressed the Senate’s responsibilities when it comes to ratifying the current agreement reached by the Obama Administration and the P5+1 nations. Others noted that the ability of Iran to continue research and development means that their nuclear program has not been disassembled, but pushed down the road.
The speakers warned against this agreement, pointing to Iran’s history of not completing or following through on their agreements with nations. Reiss suggested that Congress convene a non-partisan panel to review the intelligence on Iran and make an independent assessment.
Liebermann also pointed out that each of the sanctions were bipartisan, despite a lack of backing from each Presidential administration, and all were signed. The sanctions were made to stay until Iran changed their actions. This new agreement does not stop the nuclear program, but gives Iran ten years before they can move forward. The IAEA has reports of Iran’s refusal to cooperate throughout the last several decades.
The agreement is full of holes, particularly in regards to inspections, stated Liebermann. Thus, it is too full of risk for U.S. and to full of rewards for Iran. The alternative is go back to the negotiation table, argued Liebermann. Nuclear armament will only continue in the region. He encouraged the rejection of the agreement by Congress. The U.S. Congress needs to reject the agreement by a two-thirds majority, in order to stop it from going forward.
Various panelists pointed to the fact that the sanctions were working and that balancing power with Iran will not work, because it is based on a misunderstanding of the regime. Strength matters to Tehran and the region and concessions are considered a weakness, stated Haas.
This whole theory is based on provided economic relief to bring political agreement and human rights. The agreement is also is very narrowly focused and does not address the global aspiration of Iran, according to Haas. There are no points of comfort on these issues from this agreement.
The regime will not allow foreigners at military sites has been the stand of the Iranian regime, despite the negotiations. Haas said that the U.S. needs to take Iran at their word, based on their resistance to inspections and other areas were Iran has not followed through. This agreement is time limited, so even if they don’t cheat, it will still facilitate nuclear proliferation. Other countries in the region have stated they will start nuclear programs because of their fear of this regime. Haas believes the chances of war have gone up if these agreement is not rejected.
A representative from the NCRI pointed out that the nuclear program of Iran is unpatriotic and fuels the power of the mullahs with little benefit to the Iranian people.
This briefing was sponsored by the Iranian-American Cultural Association of Missouri, a member of the Organization of Iranian-American Communities (OIAC-US), and other members of OIAC from around the U.S.