What Israeli, U.S. Experts Say on Iran Deal

Check out the military leaders and other U.S. and Israeli security experts from across the political spectrum who have come out in support of the historic first-step nuclear deal with Iran.

Israeli Security Experts

Former Israeli Atomic Agency Chief, Uzi Eilam

The Iranian nuclear program will only be operational in another 10 years...Even so, I am not sure that Iran wants the bomb.


Amos Yadlin

Former Israeli Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin

It's better than the alternative of no agreement, and obligates us to make every effort to ensure that the agreement six months from now rolls back the Iranian nuclear program… It is possible that had there been no agreement, [Iran] would have decided to make the breakthrough to a bomb.


Efraim Halevy

Former chief of Mossad, Efraim Halevy

I think [the deal] is an important step in itself because it is a beginning of Iran walking along a certain path, which should it continue along will inevitably lead it to sever with its past.


Meretz Leader in Knesset Zahava Galon

This is not just an American achievement, but also an Israeli achievement.


Member of Knesset Merav Michaeli

Obama promised he would not accept a nuclear Iran, and, indeed, the agreement distances Iran from nuclearization.


Member of Knesset Omer Barlev

Considering the achievements such as the dismantling of [Iran’s] stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent, reducing the number of centrifuges, halting construction of the heavy water facility [in Arak], all the while the sanctions of Iranian oil and banking industries continue — compared to the alternative of a military strike at this point — it is clear that the agreement reached is far superior.


Israeli analyst Ehud Yaari

The new agreement does not allow the Iranians to further develop their nuclear facilities… The Iranians will be forced to dismantle their cascades of centrifuges and will have to make do with the old ones in their possession. Taking into account the knowledge the Iranians have amassed and the rate of their progress until now, there is no reason to mourn the agreement.


U.S. Security Experts

Former CIA Director David Petraeus

Former CIA Director David Petraeus

I’m actually starting to believe that an agreement is possible and it could be that it’s possible before this particular six month deadline expires.


And military action holds less promise for decisively ending the nuclear threat than does a good negotiated accord.


Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that imposing new unilateral sanctions now ‘would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.’ I share that view. It could rob us of the diplomatic high ground we worked so hard to reach, break the united international front we constructed, and in the long run, weaken pressure on Iran by opening the door for other countries to chart a different course.


Madeleine Albright

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

While the complete end to Iran's nuclear program would be the best solution, an accord by which Iran would curb its nuclear ambitions under strict and intrusive inspections program would greatly improve the long-term security of the United States and our closest allies in the Middle East.


Richard Lugar

Former Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)

We ought to give diplomacy a chance.


National Security Adviser to President Bill Clinton Samuel Berger

Achieving that objective in the upcoming negotiation is hard enough. We should not derail it from the start by prescribing its terms. But that essentially would be the effect of the Iranian sanctions bill being considered in the Senate. It would not simply sanction Iran if it fails to comply with its commitments; it would apply new sanctions if Iran does not accept a nuclear deal that meets conditions it requires. That essentially presents Iran with this choice: Accept our terms or be sanctioned. Negotiations are unlikely to begin under those circumstances.


Richard Haass

President of the Council on Foreign Relations and former Bush administration official Richard Haass

The interim nuclear accord between Iran and the six world powers is a significant accomplishment by any measure... The interim agreement itself places meaningful constraints on several dimensions of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for providing Iran with a degree of financial relief from existing economic sanctions. The accord, better understood as a ceiling than a freeze, also establishes a level of inspections that is far more intrusive than what has existed.


Leslie Gelb

President emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations Leslie Gelb

The Obama team has won the first round on the six-month agreement with Iran by a knockout... Yes, there were disproportionate compromises made-by the Iranians. They froze, to greater and lesser degrees, virtually all of their nuclear programs. And critically for Western intelligence, Tehran also agreed to vast new inspections of their nuclear facilities by international experts. In return, the U.S. agreed to provide around $7 billion in sanctions relief. This is first rate bargaining by the American side.


Former National Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft

Prior to the interim deal, these national security advisors wrote to Congress saying: "Additional sanctions now against Iran with the view to extracting even more concessions in the negotiations will risk undermining or even shutting down the negotiations. More sanctions now as these unprecedented negotiations are just getting underway would reconfirm Iranians in their belief that the US is not prepared to make any agreement with the current government of Iran."


Veteran intelligence officer on Middle East issues Paul Pillar

Veteran intelligence officer on Middle East issues Paul Pillar

A major achievement that deserves enthusiastic applause.


Vali Nasr

Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Vali Nasr

No matter what you think of it, this is a historic deal.


David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security

President of the Institute for Science and International Security David Albright

The deal in the short run accomplishes a tremendous amount. In the long run, a lot of work has to be done and a lot of issues have to be settled.


Colin Kahl

Former Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl

Although no diplomatic agreement is perfect, the one reached in Geneva is pretty darn good.


Survey of National Security Insiders

The National Journal conducted a survey of 56 national security insiders finding, "A strong majority of National Journal's National Security Insiders thought the recent agreement between world powers and Iran-to limit its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief-is a 'good deal,' ... The agreement... 'is better than expected and rolls back key aspects of the Iranian progress toward bomb-grade highly enriched uranium,' one Insider said." In the survey, 75.5% responded yes to the question, "Is the recent agreement between world powers and Iran to limit its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief a good deal?


Former Ambassadors to Israel and Undersecretaries of State

We are persuaded that this agreement arrests Iran's nuclear program for the first time in nearly a decade and opens the possibility of ultimately stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. More than any other option, a diplomatic breakthrough on this issue will help ensure Israel's security and remove the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region generally and Israel specifically. We are encouraged that this first-step agreement with Iran will constrain and make much more transparent its nuclear program. This agreement contains concessions and limitations from Iran that few of us thought would have been possible just scant weeks ago.


This article was originally published on December 4th, 2013.

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