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March 23, 2015 6:13 pm

Former Top US Officials Say One-Year Not Enough Time to Stop Iran Nuclear Breakout

avatar by David Daoud

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Former US Officials say one- year may not be enough to detect Iran violations of a nuclear accord. PHOTO: Wikipedia.

Former top US officials have said that one year would provide insufficient warning-time to detect an Iranian reversal on a nuclear agreement and take action against the violations. The assessment contradicts the Obama Administration’s official position.

This estimation, put forward by former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards at the IAEA Olli Heinonen, and former State Department Official Ray Takeyh is more in line with Israel’s assessment on the time it would take for the world to act if Iran decided to violate a nuclear deal and sprint towards the creation of a bomb.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, the three officials noted that Secretary Kerry’s defense of the current agreement under negotiation with Iran boiled down to the claim that, “the terms will leave Iran at least a year away from obtaining a nuclear bomb, thus giving the world plenty of time to react to infractions.”

Despite the seemingly reassuring nature of Kerry’s assertion, the trio noted that, “a careful assessment, however, reveals that a one-year breakout time may not be sufficient to detect and reverse Iranian violations.”

The United States would have to initiate a lengthy bureaucratic process to validate any suspected Iranian violation, which could take months before the director of national intelligence was assured of one’s existence. That information would have to be reviewed by several tiers of US intelligence agencies, and only then could the DNI submit his suspicions to the White House.

The White House would then have to forward the information to the IAEA, which is in charge of on-site inspections, a process which would be slowed down “by the need to protect sensitive or technical sources of information.”

The IAEA would then have to engage the Iranians in negotiations to gain access to the sites where violations are suspected of occurring, which could take months since, “history suggests the Iranians would engage in protracted negotiations and much arcane questioning of the evidence.” Even then, Iran would not be as forthcoming as necessary, “offering some access while holding back key data and personnel.”

If the process were reversed, where the IAEA raised the prospect of Iranian violations, the United States would nonetheless have to then undergo a time-consuming process of validating the findings.

The Security Council would then have to be notified, where the veto-yielding Russia and China – closely tied to Iran – would have to be convinced that the violation required a forceful reaction, “So, add at least a few more months,” says the op-ed.

Re-imposition of sanctions would not have an immediate effect, and “any sanctions would take time to stress Iran’s economy, particularly in the aftermath of an agreement that paved the way for the return of trade and investment,” and would thus be limited in their ability to deter Iran from assembling a nuclear weapon.

Add to that the fact that the United States has never used force to respond to violations of negotiated arms-control agreements, and that Iran’s “cheating…would always be incremental and never egregious,” and the agreement loses all ability to lay the world’s worries to rest, according to the former officials.

“In the end, a year simply may not be enough time to build an international consensus on measures to redress Iranian violations,” concludes the op-ed.

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  • realitybetraysus

    Is there no way the USA could impeach our president or at least remove him from office before he causes any more damage?I can think of nothing worse than sleeping with the enemy than having them in the while house! Wake up America Obamanation is supporting muslim interests not the best interest of America or it’s citizens!This would be the equivalent of a nazi or japanenese being president in the white house during WWII. When is “America going to wake up and recognize the bandini has already hit the fan and we are going to have to clean up the mess when it is over…

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    Hey Folks: I found someone I can sell the Brooklyn Bridge to.

  • Abu Nudnik

    I’m SO surprised! I’ve always believed everything the president has said: You can keep your doctor, I found out about it in the newspapers, it was a rogue operation, I can’t do amnesty myself, etc…

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  • Lynne T

    Moderator, please delate my 8:27 a.m. post. I copied in the wrong bit of text. Thanks.

  • Lynne T

    Related reading about just how far the Iranians (and the Argentinians) can be trusted: My right knee has gotten a lot worse — waiting for my knee replacement surgery date to be confirmed, and in the meantime, I need to avoid standing for prolonged periods.

  • Iran will sprint to creating a nuclear device !
    Sanctions are impotent when a country’s leaders care more for it’s ability to wage nuclear war then it’s people.
    Iran with a degree of certainty already has in place the necessary equipment to create a nuclear bomb, all they need is one component.
    There is a cancer of delusion prevalent in Washington, a President who has his own muslim agenda.
    We all need to write to our respective representatives telling them “NO” to any deal with Iran !
    How have we reached such a crossroad, that will only bring death and dispair, allowing Iran any capibility greater then what is in place now will
    Be catastrophic !
    It is within their culture to lie,delay,obfuscate what their final objective is.
    Naïveté is rampant in a section of our government, if Iran receives what it wants, nuclear capability will be assured within 3-6 months !
    We always say never again, now is the time to act upon Never Again !

    • It is a great pity the west lacks the wisdom of your words and the wisdom of Israel’s PM Mr. BBN. We are certainly approaching WWIII or Armageddon. The US simply will not take action against Obama and his Muslim associates. Shalom

  • Paul

    The Iranians are past masters at subterfuge. Only recently, a site was discovered containing thousands of centrifuges the West knew noting about.
    Is there any doubt that what will in fact happen is, that one morning, the world will wake up to discover that a nuclear test was successfully carried out in Iran. The Obama will say, “Oops !”

  • Bob Jackson

    The only effective response at that point would be military, but we have been told that the military option is off the table. What good would sanctions do when Iran has a bomb and begins to threaten and flex its muscles? There is thus really no response that would prevent a breakout by Iran, so that an Iranian nuclear weapon is inevitable from the current “bad” deal.
    But the President promised at the AIPAC Conference in 2012 that Iran would never get a bomb. Why shouldn’t he be held to that pledge as he is holding Netanyahu to his no Palestinian State statement? What’s good for the goose is good for the goose as the gander gets goosed.

  • steven L

    This administration is determined to give nuke bombs to Iran asap.

  • “The Security Council would then have to be notified, where the veto-yielding Russia and China – closely tied to Iran – would have to be convinced that the violation required a forceful reaction,…”

    When a mushroom cloud “violation” ominously appears, it will be too late to “put the Persian nuclear genie back in the bottle.”

  • I agree. Arguing that one year is sufficient time to reimpose sanctions should Iranians breach the deal is like saying that the nation wouldn’t be embarrassed so long as it were warned in advance that emperor wore no clothes.

  • yael

    totally correct…Obama is the Manchurian Candidate! He is supporting Iran and hoping that
    Israel disappears. Mthrfker!

  • Jack Cowan

    Surprise! Surprise!

  • dante

    obama only cares about whether the mullahs will go nuclear “on his watch.” if obama can reach a clandestine agreement with the mullahs to delay any announcement or confirmatory act until after januaury 2017, obama will do his end zone victory dance. and, what happens is not his problem. “apres moi le deluge.”

    there is not a president, even including carter, who has had a more disastrous record than the incumbent: russia, ukraine, iraq, yemen, libya, syria, egypt, china, etc., etc. every foreign policy initiative has been a failure, some have been calamitous. but, the arrogant and infantile narcissism of the incumbent is indifferent to the wreckage that he’s created; he will not reconsider any of the premises of his foreign policy. “OFTEN WRONG, NEVER IN DOUBT”