In a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, experts expressed their concerns about the emerging Iran deal, the sunset clause in particular. According to the Lausanne announcement, after 10-15 years nearly all limitations on Iran’s nuclear program expire, leaving the Iranians with near zero breakout time, as President Obama himself has said. Stephen Rademaker, former Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, stated in his written testimony: “[I]f it is dangerous today for Iran to be able to produce a single nuclear weapon in just two or three months, why won’t it be even more dangerous for them to be able to produce a much larger number of nuclear weapons in a much shorter period of time beginning just ten years from now?” Given that the emerging deal will expire, Rademaker worries that “the United States will be agreeing…that Iran can produce fissile materials…after 15 years, without any agreed limitation on the amount of such material.” In the hearing, Rademaker called the sunset clause a “disaster” and urged diplomats to re-open the issue in negotiations, just as the Iranians have opened negotiations on lifting a UN arms embargo.Michael Doran, a former National Security Council official, wrote that, with the sunset clause, “President Obama has signaled his belief in the inevitable rise of Iran as a nuclear-capable state…When all is said and done, [he] is agreeing to dismantle the sanctions regime – permanently. In return, Tehran is agreeing to slow the development of its nuclear program – temporarily.” Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution, while broadly supportive of the deal, said that he has been “disappointed” at the trajectory of negotiations. Pollack called the sunset clause “the most problematic aspect” of the deal.
On Monday, The Washington Post editorial board blasted the sunset clause: “Iran’s emergence as a threshold nuclear power, with the ability to produce a weapon quickly, will not be prevented; it will be postponed, by 10 to 15 years.”
The chants of “Death to America” and the burning of American flags in the streets are as familiar a part of life here as air pollution and traffic jams. With the United States and Iran on the verge of a potentially historic nuclear accord, however, there has been a distinct change in tone: the anti-Americanism is getting even more strident. …
“Those who think that even after a deal we will open our borders and change are very, very wrong,” said Hamidreza Taraghi, a political analyst close to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. For Friday’s Quds Day rallies, the annual protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestine (Quds is the Persian name for Jerusalem), Iran’s Coordination Council of Islamic Propaganda released the preferred slogans on its website on Tuesday.
“Please shout the messages of all the times, which are ‘Death to America,’ ‘Death to Israel,’ ‘Death to global arrogance,’ and ‘Death to international Zionism,’ ” the website read.
On Sunday, a top Iranian general expressed his nation’s enmity towards the United States.
Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan declared that a rapprochement was out of the question, as the enemy is “exploiting nations and putting them in chains,” the semi-official Iranian FARS News Agency reported.
“The US might arrive at some agreements with us within the framework of the Group 5+1 [the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany], but we should never hold a positive view of the enemy,” Pourdastan said.
“Our enmity with them is over principles and rooted in the fact that we are after the truth and nations’ freedom, but they seek to exploit nations and put them in chains,” he added.
Former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, often described as a moderate, later said that a nuclear deal would be a prelude to Israel’s destruction.