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Ash Carter: Iran deal features defense backstop

Posted on September 5, 2015 at 11:35 AM

United States, USA Today

With an agreement, the military option stays on the table and becomes more effective. The military option is real today and, as secretary of Defense, I will be sure that remains true well into the future. Iran might walk away from the deal or cheat, which are risks in any negotiated deal. But, unlike the arms control deals of the Cold War, nothing in the Iran deal constrains the U.S. Defense Department in any way or its ability to carry out such a mission.

Indeed, the reality is that any prospective military option, if called for, will be more effective under this deal — not less. Iran will have a smaller and more concentrated civil nuclear program, and the deal’s verification provisions will give us more information with which to plan.

No one is saying this deal will fix every problem with Iran or in the Middle East. While it removes the greatest danger — Iran with a nuclear weapon — the deal does not address Iran’s extensive malign activities in the region. But because the deal places no limits whatsoever on the United States military, it will not hinder America’s strategic approach to the region or our military’s important work to check those destabilizing activities and stand by our friends in the Middle East.

Indeed, as I told some of the more than 35,000 American troops in the region when I visited last month, the United States military will remain “full speed ahead.” We’re deterring regional threats, maintaining a robust military posture — including our most sophisticated ground, maritime, and air and ballistic missile defense assets, as well as the ability to quickly surge overwhelming additional forces — and continuing to increase our cooperation with Israel and our Persian Gulf partners in meaningful ways.

Ash Carter

Original publication date: 9/4/2015

> New York Times, Thomas Erdbrink and Somini Sengupta - Iran’s Supreme Leader Orders Parliament to Vote on Nuclear Deal

A day after President Obama secured enough votes to ensure approval of the Iranian nuclear deal in the United States Congress, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Thursday ordered Parliament to vote on the agreement and threatened to cancel the pact entirely if the West merely suspended, rather than canceled, economic sanctions, state news media reported.

While the Iranian Parliament is expected to approve the agreement, the announcement nonetheless represented a setback for President Hassan Rouhani and his nuclear negotiators, who have long held that the deal should be ratified by the Supreme National Security Council, which Mr. Rouhani heads. Their fear is that a debate in Parliament will provide a platform for strident, archconservative opponents of the pact.

The head of Parliament, Ali Larijani, who has been visiting New York for an international conference for speakers of parliaments, said on Thursday that he expected more “drama” in his own legislature than in Congress over the nuclear deal. (9/3)

> Iran Matters (Harvard's Belfer Center) - What Should Obama Do Next on Iran?

Nicholas Burns, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center, argues in The New York Times that with the likely passage of the Iran nuclear deal, the President needs to put in place a strategy to continue to check Iran regionally and to ensure that they do not build a nuclear weapon. He suggests the US should reaffirm the American commitment to defend the Gulf Region from any aggressor, clarify that the United States will use force if Iran violates the deal and seeks to build a nuclear weapon, renew US-Israeli security cooperation and mend fences with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and reaffirm US commitment to maintaining a coalition of states opposed to Iran's regional and nuclear ambitions. (9/2)

> Why Those Secret Iran Side Deals Matter

William Tobey, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center, writes with Judith Miller in Real Clear Politics that it is crucial that the IAEA release the side agreements with Iran regarding the inspections process that will be undertaken to determine the Past Military Dimensions of Iran's nuclear research. They suggest that the debate about the Associated Press draft version of the agreement underscores the need to have the full documents out in public view, and argue that while confidentiality is an important process of the IAEA, that the documents should still be released because they are unlikely to betray nuclear or military secrets of Iran, because Iran is a special case that violated previous agreements, and because Iran struck the agreement with the IAEA and with six other major powers, not just with the IAEA.

> Debating the Iran Nuclear Deal

Robert Einhorn, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, outlines major issues at stake in the debate about the Iran nuclear deal. Specifically, he discusses what will happen to Iran's program after the initial ten years of the nuclear agreement, how the agreement addresses the potential military aspects of Iran's prior nuclear research, the extent of IAEA access, the importance of arms restrictions on conventional weapons and ballistic missiles, the potential implications of sanctions relief, and the consequences of rejecting the nuclear agreement.

Iran Tracker (AEI CTP) - Iran News Round Up September 3, 2015

Key takeaway: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that "there will be no deal" if sanctions are not lifted. Khamenei also called for a parliamentary review of the nuclear deal.


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the nuclear deal would be jeopardized without the removal of sanctions during a meeting with the Assembly of Experts. Khamenei asked, “If the framework of the sanctions is to remain in place, what did we negotiate for?”

Khamenei also stressed that “Parliament should not be sidelined on the nuclear deal.” Khamenei added, however, that he has no “advice to Parliament regarding the type of review or regarding the approval of the JCPOA or disapproval of it; the representatives of the nation must decide about it.” Khamenei singled out President Rouhani, who recently voiced opposition to allowing the Parliament vote on the nuclear deal. The Supreme Leader stated, “I have said, Mr. President, it is not in the best interest to exclude Parliament from reviewing the JCPOA.”

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