Tags: Iran | Dennis Ross | nuclear deal | IAEA

Dennis Ross: Deal May Slow, but Won't Stop Iran's Pursuit of Nukes

By    |   Wednesday, 01 April 2015 11:21 AM

As negotiations over a framework between Iran and six global powers continued Wednesday, few expressed confidence that any deal would amount to more than a delay in Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.

"Clearly, during the course of negotiations, faced with intransigence from Tehran, the administration came to the conclusion that we could not diplomatically roll back the Iranian nuclear infrastructure in any significant way.

"But we could diplomatically succeed in containing the Iranian nuclear program, putting limits on it and preventing its growth for the next 15 years," writes veteran U.S. Mideast negotiator Dennis Ross in Politico.

Ross, who is the author of the forthcoming book "Doomed to Succeed: The US-Israeli Relationship from Truman to Obama," believes that Iran will remain a nuclear threat regardless of whether a deal is or is not reached, but says the Obama administration must demonstrate to skeptics that there will be consequences if Iran fails to live up to the terms of any agreement.

"Even a bad agreement might be better than the available alternatives, but if the administration wants to prove that the eventual agreement is acceptable, it will need to show that it has produced the bare minimum of the outcome that we once hoped for," he says, adding that "if we are to deter Iranian violations, they must know in advance what the consequences are and that they will be high."

While representatives from the United States, Germany and Britain remained engaged in the talks, China, France, and Russia negotiators departed Switzerland as the deadline expired Tuesday at midnight.

The Obama administration, however, appeared committed to the notion that a deal could be reached that would result in Iran closing "every pathway" to a nuclear program.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the administration is insisting that the Iranians commit to shutting down "every pathway they have to a nuclear weapon," as well as "intrusive" inspections to ensure they were abiding by a framework agreement, reports USA Today.

The difficulty moving forward is how to ensure Iran can be held to account if it violates the terms of the agreement, particularly in light of the announcement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on March 2 that it could not "provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."

Meanwhile, members of Congress are increasing pressure to not only keep present sanctions in place, but to toughen them.

"We should reinstate existing sanctions suspended under the Joint Plan of Action, and Congress should act immediately to impose new sanctions. It's time for the United States to regain the upper hand and quit negotiating out of weakness," said Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas in a statement released before the talks were extended.

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As negotiations over a framework between Iran and six global powers continued Wednesday, few expressed confidence that any deal would amount to more than a delay in Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.
Dennis Ross, nuclear deal, IAEA
474
2015-21-01
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 11:21 AM
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