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Iran Deal Critics

Some have claimed that the only people objecting to the nuclear agreement with Iran are American Republicans and supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his right-wing governing coalition. In fact, skepticism and criticism come from across both the Israeli and American political spectrum—as well as some other surprising sources. Here are some notable quotes.

U.S. Democrats

See compilation here.

Israeli Opposition Leaders

See compilation here.

The Arab World

See compilation here.

Olli Heinonen, former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the agency’s former top official for monitoring nuclear proliferation: “Olli Heinonen, a 27-year veteran of the IAEA until 2009, also said in the past Iran had ‘sanitized’ two suspected nuclear sites by refurbishing and repainting the locations in an effort to hide illegal uranium enrichment from inspectors. The former IAEA deputy director voiced skepticism about the inspection provisions for suspected nuclear sites contained in the deal reached with Iran, the United States, and five other nations on July 14. ‘Iran has not changed its nuclear course. It’s keeping all the options open’ for building nuclear arms, Heinonen said.” (Ex-IAEA Leader: 24-Day Inspection Delay Will Boost Iranian Nuclear Cheating by Bill Gertz, The Washington Free Beacon, July 21, 2015

See also: “The terms delineated in the [April 2015] framework agreement will leave Iran as ‘a threshold breakout nuclear state for the next 10 years,” and after that the remaining safeguards against a breakout to the bomb will begin to fall away. [Heinonen] expressed a range of concerns about the deal taking shape, warned of Iran’s history of deception, and also cautioned that the one-year framework for nuclear breakout pushed by the Obama administration might leave insufficient time for an international reaction to violations of the agreement.” (Ex-IAEA deputy: Deal puts Iran on nuke threshold for 10 years, then gets worse by Rebecca Shimoni Stoil, The Times of Israel, April 7, 2015)

Emily B. Landau, Head of the Arms Control program at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS): “[T]he 24-day cap on Iran’s ability to delay an investigation into a facility suspected of supporting clandestine activities could actually be much longer than that […] And there are additional dangerous ambiguities in the deal. There are holes and loopholes and flaws that Iran can abuse for its purposes. So when one assesses the deal, the scientific aspects are certainly important, but that is not where the assessment ends.” (What 29 top US scientists don’t know by Emily B. Landau, The Times of Israel, August 10, 2015)

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector in Iraq, “said that three weeks might be ample time for the Iranians to dispose of any evidence of prohibited nuclear work. Among the possibilities, he said, were experiments with high explosives that could be used to trigger a nuclear weapon, or the construction of a small plant to make centrifuges. ‘If it is on a small scale, they may be able to clear it out in 24 days,’ Mr. Albright said in a telephone interview. ‘They are practiced at cheating. You can’t count on them to make a mistake.’” (Verification Process in Iran Deal Is Questioned by Some Experts by Michael R. Gordon, The New York Times, July 22, 2015)

European Officials

Unnamed “French official” quoted in The Wall Street Journal: “Citing the profound weaknesses of an agreement that allows controls over Iran to end after 15 years and the mullahs to keep an absurdly high number of centrifuges, a French official told me he graded the accord as C-plus. He expressed concern about America’s willingness over time to continue paying the enormous expense of its vast Iranian surveillance operations. And he also said that the deal’s concessions to Tehran made a pressing reality of Saudi Arabia’s quest for an atomic weapon.” (France’s Partial Buyer’s Remorse on the Iran Deal by John Vinocur, The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2015)

Unnamed European government leaders quoted by Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations: “European prime ministers and foreign ministers — including from countries that are part of the so-called P5+1 group (the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) that negotiated the accord – are ‘very uncomfortable with this deal,’ he maintained. According to Hoenlein, these leaders told him in private meetings that they objected to many of the agreement’s provisions but that the US took the lead, and they followed. ‘Unfortunately, they are not courageous enough, obviously, to say that in the negotiations,’ he said.” (US Jewish leader: Several EU PMs, including from P5+1, very unhappy with Iran deal by Raphael Ahern, The Times of Israel, August 7, 2015)

Jacques Audibert, senior diplomatic adviser to French President Francois Hollande: “[I]f Congress votes this [the JCPOA] down, there will be some saber-rattling and some chaos for a year or two, but in the end nothing will change and Iran will come back to the table to negotiate again and that would be to our advantage.” (Quoted by Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-CA, in Top French Official Contradicts Kerry on Iran Deal by Josh Rogin, Bloomberg View, July 31, 2015. For the record, a the French embassy spokesperson denied the comment.)

Iranian (!) Officials

Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC): “Some points included in the draft [are] clearly contrary to and a violation of the red lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran, specifically of Iran’s arms capabilities and will never be accepted by us. Any resolution that contradicts our country’s red lines, there is no validity, and we are hopeful that the [UN Security Council] does not waste its time to pass a draft like this. [….] The Americans and their domesticated dog, meaning the Zionist regime, not only once but many times in battle with groups like Hezbollah and Palestinian resistance groups have had their noses rubbed in dirt. Therefore, no intelligent person would take these ridiculous American claims and threats seriously, but rather see it as proof as their inability and lack of options.” (Revolutionary Guard leader slams US, criticizes deal by Arash Karami, Al-Monitor, July 20, 2015)

Brig.-Gen. Hossein Dehqan, Iranian defense minister: “We will by no means allow any [foreign] authority access to our military and security secret[s]. [….] We do not seek the permission of any authority in order to arm and equip our Armed Forces and we will arm them in proportion to threats. [….] The implementation of the ‘JCPOA,’ entails that the P5+1 and their subordinate institutions fully respect the Islamic Republic of Iran’s red lines and win the Iranian nation’s trust.” (Iran military, security secrets off-limits: Defense minister

Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of Kayhan, a newspaper closely associated with Khamenei said that accepting the new resolution would be tantamount to accepting previous Security Council resolutions, which Iran considers illegal. “Even by simply looking at the deal you can see some vital red lines of the Islamic Republic have not been preserved.” (Iran hardliners lash out as U.N. endorses nuclear deal by Bozorghmehr Sharafedin, Reuters, July 20, 2015)

Ahmad Bakhshayesh, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in parliament, said the nuclear negotiations had veered too far into the military sphere. “The negotiating team was not supposed to negotiate on Iran’s ballistic missile technology.” (Iran hardliners lash out as U.N. endorses nuclear deal by Bozorghmehr Sharafedin, Reuters, July 20, 2015)


See also: Rabbis, retired U.S. Generals and Admirals, and military leaders appointed by Presidents Obama and Clinton


If you come across other sources or quotes, please send them to me (with specific citations and links, if available).

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