Ambassador Susman on the Iran Nuclear Deal

Louis Susman (Ambassador to the United Kingdom, 2009-2013)


The Iran nuclear agreement is clearly in the best interests of the United States, Israel and the entire region. The agreement will achieve the primary objective of stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon for at least a decade and possibly longer.

If this agreement had not been reached, the economic sanctions would have been eliminated by our allies; including Russia and China. Iran would receive not only economic relief but would be the recipients of substantial bi-lateral trade agreements with many countries. They would have no restrictions on their nuclear program with no inspection or verification process in place. If Iran chose to go ahead they would probably have a nuclear weapon in six months versus ten years. It is hard for me to believe the world would be safer if this agreement had not been reached.

The agreement clearly allows only a small number of centrifuges, no enrichment capabilities above peaceful levels, the dismantling or closing of their nuclear facilities and a robust inspection system. Is the agreement perfect, probably not, but whatever imperfections one might see, they are strongly countered by the benefits.

It is my hope that Iran will comply with both the letter and spirit of the agreement, but only time will tell. The scientist advises that if they cheat we will know and at that point all of the options that we have today are still in place.

It is important to note that every country, other than Israel, supports the agreement. Unity of nations in today’s world is a rare occurrence. This type of unanimous support, I hope, will have an impact on Iran in viewing the sanctity of the agreement, as well as modifying their behavior in the region. We must also be vigilant of all sources that would attempt to undermine or cancel the agreement, both at the political level, as well as the government level.

The support of the Democrats in Congress to thwart the Republicans attempt to defeat the agreement reinforced the President’s and the Secretary of State’s credibility and leadership in the world. It is hard to imagine the abandonment of P5+1 and their other allies would feel if the agreement that was led by the United States had been undermined by Congress.

What’s ahead is always hard to predict. If a Republican is elected President in 2016, many of the nominees claim they will tear up the agreement on their first day of office. Will the Republican Congress continue to attempt to legislate to undermine the agreement? Will the forces of Hezbollah and Hamas try to incite, through terrorist acts, both the United States and our allies and Iran, to back out of the agreement?

The stakes are very high, but there is no question that the Iranian nuclear agreement has made the world a safer place.


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