Western powers will need to increase pressure on Iran after the six-month interim deal over Iran's nuclear program is completed or will face the prospect of a new nuclear power in the Mideast, retired Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former director of both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, told Newsmax.
"Iran is already within reach of creating a nuclear weapon. A 'freeze' would leave them too close to a weapon. So in six months, we need to push them back from where they are," Hayden said Saturday in an exclusive interview with Newsmax. "We need to take dramatic steps to increase pressure on Iran not to go further."
Hayden said, "What's important is what comes after on the interim deal. I would ask [critics] to concentrate your fire on what happens in six months," after Iran's uranium enrichment program is reviewed by international inspectors.
"If this is a bridge to something different, okay. But if it is not a bridge to a better, permanent agreement, it's awful, and it will be difficult to move on," Hayden said.
Hayden added that what he feared most was "a diplomatic version of the continuing resolution," a temporary budget measure which keeps the federal government running until further action is taken.
"In this case, it would allow Iran to just sit where they are now. That's just not acceptable," said Hayden, also former CIA director.
Hayden also responded to comments by French opposition party leader Jean Francois Cope, who last week strongly denounced the agreement permitting uranium enrichment by Iran in an address to the Hudson Institute and in subsequent meetings with House Republicans.
As for Cope's remark that Iran's "moderate" that President Hassan Rouhani is a figurehead and the true power resides with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Hayden said, "Rouhani is as good as it gets when it comes to an Iranian politician you can talk to. I would call him 'pragmatist' rather than 'moderate.'' But yes, any decisions he makes must be approved by the Supreme Guide. As my old boss George W. Bush used to say, 'he's the decider.'''
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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