Whatever one thinks of the United Nations in general, its nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is critical for keeping such weapons out of the wrong hands, and will have to be a major player in any U.S. nuclear deal with Iran, says an expert on weapons of mass destruction.
The question is whether or not the U.S. is getting played by Iranian negotiators, Greg Schulte, a former U.S. permanent representative to the IAEA, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV
Story continues below video.
Note: Watch Newsmax TV now on DIRECTV Ch. 349 and DISH Ch. 223
Get Newsmax TV on your cable system – Click Here Now
"I worry that we're heading towards a bad agreement that would leave Iran not with nuclear weapons, but as a nuclear-ready state — months away from having nuclear weapons — and that's real dangerous for our security and for the security of our allies," said Schulte, who held positions at the Pentagon, State Department and White House.
"Let me describe a good deal," said Schulte, who once worked with the IAEA to report Iran's nuclear violations to the U.N. Security Council.
"A good deal would first have Iran admit to its past work on weaponization — on developing nuclear weapons research and development," he said. "Secondly, we would have Iran substantially scale back their current infrastructures for nuclear [processing] so they wouldn't have a breakout capability.
"And third, they would agree to very intrusive inspections," said Schulte, acknowledging, "That's a lot of ask of mullahs.
"The only way they're going to perhaps agree to that is, if it's clear the international community is united, if it's clear that we're ready to walk away from these negotiations, and if it's clear that we're ready to put in place very strong sanctions, sustained for the long term," said Schulte.
"Even that might not work," he added, "and so we'll have to be ready to defend our allies and contain and counter a nuclear-ready Iran."
Whatever course the U.S. takes, it will require a united front, said Schulte.
"The president's State of the Union treated Iran like a negotiating partner and the U.S. Congress like the enemy," said Schulte, referring to a presidential promise to veto congressionally-imposed Iran sanctions
"He has to flip-flop that," said Schulte. "He has to work with Congress to agree that there will not be further extensions in the negotiations and [that] if we don't have a good agreement, there will be substantial sanctions put in place.
"This is an area where there should be bipartisan agreement and bipartisan action," he said.
As for the international community, Schulte said, "there are some issues where the U.N. is clearly just a talk shop."
But nuclear inspections is an area where the U.S. takes the U.N. seriously, he said.
"When President Bush asked me to be the ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, my first reaction was … 'really?' " said Schulte.
His tune changed when he worked with the IAEA to identify Iran's nuclear violations.
"But now the IAEA can't enforce [against] Iran, can't change Iran's behavior," he said. "It really requires the U.S., working with Europeans and Russia and China, to get Iran back in the box in its nuclear program.
"Part of the solution — part of a good agreement, if we get one — is to have IAEA inspectors have even more access," he said.
Schulte also discussed whether NATO can fight violent jihadist movements and terrorist groups in the Middle East.
He said the longstanding Western military alliance can "absolutely" join the counter-terror fight in a meaningful way — and may be more inclined to now that NATO allies such as France are experiencing attacks first-hand. But the U.S. must still be in the vanguard, he said.
"NATO only operates well if it has U.S. leadership," said Schulte.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.