Dear Readers,

We are now entering a season of debates about the Iranian nuclear agreement which has already had considerable push-back among the Republicans in Congress, many presidential candidates and the usual; suspects in the media. What has been missing is full coverage of the views of the most expert individuals with either deep knowledge of nuclear issues or those who have a long history and career of foreign affairs and the Middle East region as well as non-proliferation and strategic issues. I think the quotes below indicate a wide range of the top experts. We have posted the full statement of the 100 plus former ambassadors and high level officials who have endorsed the agreement.  My views are found elsewhere on this blog but we welcome your comments on this issue.


A special thanks goes to my National Security intern Allison Gerns who complied this excellent list. Please pass it on to others.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————–Letter from the American Ambassadors

“If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East.”

“We believe that without it, the risks to the security of the United States and our friends and allies would be far greater.”

“Deserves congressional support and the opportunity to show it can work.”

Click here to read the entire letter.

Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle East studies at The London School of Economics

“It’s a good day for diplomacy, it’s a good day for compromise, it’s a good day for a new beginning between Iran — a pivotal state in the Middle East — and the United States.”

Hillary Clinton

“This agreement can make the United States, Israel and our Arab partners safer.”

Ban Ki-Moon

“I know that an immense amount of work went into this and I admire the determination and the commitment of the negotiators as well as the courage of the leaders who approved the deal that was so painstakingly worked out by their teams in Vienna and elsewhere.”

 “I hope, and indeed believe, that this agreement will lead to greater mutual understanding and cooperation on the many serious security challenges in the Middle East.”

Director General of the IAEA

“I welcome this agreement which will facilitate the IAEA’s further verification work in Iran.”

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg

“This agreement represents a historic breakthrough which, once fully implemented, will strengthen international security.” 

French President Francois Hollande

“It’s a very important deal that was signed overnight, the world is making headway.”

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

“We hope, and expect, that this agreement will herald a step-change in Iran’s relations with its neighbors and with the international community.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

“actively participating in the practical steps for the realizations of the agreement.” 

“without a doubt will play an important role in ensuring non-proliferation in general”

“make the situation in the Middle East healthier.” 
“A Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action consisting of the main document and five technical and totally specific annexes has been coordinated, and a draft resolution of the Security Council which all negotiating parties will submit for consideration by the UN Security Council as co-authors has been coordinated too.” 

 Joint Statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif

“With courage, political will, mutual respect and leadership, we delivered on what the world was hoping for: a shared commitment to peace and to join hands in order to make our world safer. This is an historic day also because we are creating the conditions for building trust and opening a new chapter in our relationship.”

“This achievement is the result of a collective effort.”

“We have always been aware we had a responsibility to our generation and the future ones.”

“We know that this agreement will be subject to intense scrutiny. But what we are announcing today is not only a deal but a good deal. And a good deal for all sides – and the wider international community.”

“We call on the world community to support the implementation of this historic effort.”

“This is the conclusion of our negotiations, but this is not the end of our common work. We will keep doing this important task together.”

President Obama

“I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.”

“We have cut off every pathway for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.”

“Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region. Because of this deal, the international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.”

“This deal meets every single one of the bottom lines that we established when we achieved a framework earlier this spring.”

“Without this deal, there is no scenario where the world joins us in sanctioning Iran until it completely dismantles its nuclear program.”

“I strongly believe that our national security interest now depends upon preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon — which means that without a diplomatic resolution, either I or a future U.S. president would face a decision about whether or not to allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon or whether to use our military to stop it. Put simply, no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East.”

“I am confident that this deal will meet at the national security interest of the United States and our allies.”

“History shows that America must lead, not just with our might, but with our principles. It shows we are stronger not when we are alone but when we bring the world together. Today’s announcement marks one more chapter in this pursuit of a safer and more helpful, more hopeful world.” (White House, July 14, 2015)

Secretary Kerry

“Iran will not produce or acquire highly enriched uranium or plutonium for at least 15 years.”

“The real fear of that region should be that you don’t have the deal.” 

 “Now they’ve done more than just come to negotiations; they’ve actually negotiated a deal. And three of the seven nations thought they shouldn’t, therefore, be held to any kind of restraint. We prevailed and insisted, no, they have to be.”

 “The simple reality is that if you’re going to push back against Iran it is better to push back against an Iran that doesn’t have a nuclear weapon rather than one that does.”

 “The same way that Ronald Reagan negotiated with the Soviet Union, and the same way that Richard Nixon negotiated with what we then called Red China, we have now negotiated with somebody who took our embassy over, took hostages, killed Americans, many of the things you hear people say, supported terrorism but what we need to recognize is that an Iran that we want to stop the behavior of with a nuclear weapon is a very different Iran than an Iran without a nuclear weapon.”

President Vladimir Putin

“We are satisfied that the solution found is based on the principle of phasing and mutuality, which our country has been consistently supporting at every stage of these complicated negotiations.”

Jeffrey Lewis, the Center for Nonproliferation Studies

“If you want to give the international community decent tools to reduce the chances of Iran getting a nuclear weapon, it’s a great deal.”

Robert Einhorn, senior fellow with the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at the Brookings Institution

“The day [Obama] walked in . . . Iran was already a nuclear threshold state. Full rollback, to zero centrifuges, was not a realistic or obtainable objective.” 

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

“We are better off forever in terms of Iranian nuclear activity under this agreement than we would be without it.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

“[It’s] a good product –– not only better than the status quo, not only the best possible option, but a strong, effective … proposal for keeping the peace and stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

Dianne Feinstein

“This is our one opportunity.”

Arms Control Association

 “The agreement will establish long-term, verifiable restrictions on Iran’s sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities… If Congress somehow blocks implementation of this hard-won, balanced and effective multilateral deal, the United States will have broken from its European allies, the necessary international support for Iran-related sanctions would melt away, Iran would be able to rapidly and significantly expand its capacity to produce bomb-grade material; we would lose out on securing enhanced inspections needed to detect a clandestine weapons effort. The risk of a nuclear-armed Iran would thereby increase.”

60 National Security Leaders, including Madeleine Albright, Fmr. Secretary of State; Samuel Berger, Fmr. National Security Advisor; William Perry; Fmr. Secretary of Defense; Admiral Eric Olson (ret.), Fmr. Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command; Amb. Edward J. Walker, Jr. (ret.), Amb. to Israel, Egypt, and UAE

“We applaud the announcement that a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reached with Iran to limit its nuclear program. We congratulate President Obama and all the negotiators for a landmark agreement unprecedented in its importance for preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran. Though primarily a nonproliferation agreement, the JCPOA has significant implications for some of America’s most important national objectives: regional stability in the Middle East, Israel’s security, dealing with an untrustworthy and hostile nation, and U.S. leadership on major global challenges.”

Barry Blechman, The Stimson Center

“This is an historic agreement which stops Iran’s nuclear program in its tracks for at least ten years, and probably for many more. It includes all necessary technical measures to ensure that Iran is complying with its commitments, provides sanctions relief only as those commitments are demonstrated, and will make the U.S. and its friends in the region far more secure than they would be in any other scenario.”

David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

“The international community has delivered a historic deal with Iran. A deal which secures our fundamental aim – to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon – and that will help to make our world a safer place.”

Roger Cohen, The New York Times

“If implemented, the agreement constitutes the most remarkable American diplomatic achievement since the Dayton Accords put an end to the Bosnian war two decades ago. It increases the distance between Iran and a bomb as it reduces the distance between Iran and the world. It makes the Middle East less dangerous by forestalling proliferation.”

Matthew Duss, Foundation for Middle East Peace

“The historic nuclear deal announced Tuesday in Vienna between the U.S. and its P5+1 partners and Iran demonstrates an alternative vision of the use of American power. It shows that our security and the security of our partners can be effectively advanced through multilateral diplomacy, and proves once again the importance of U.S. global leadership in addressing shared problems. The Vienna agreement is a victory for a better vision of foreign policy.”

Philip Hammond, U.K. Foreign Secretary

“After more than a decade of tough negotiations we have reached an historic agreement that will impose strict limits and inspections on Iran’s nuclear programme. Having reached this important agreement, our focus will now be on its swift and full implementation to make sure that a nuclear weapon remains beyond Iran’s reach. We hope, and expect, that this agreement will herald a step-change in Iran’s relations with its neighbours and with the international community.”

“We wouldn’t have agreed to the deal unless we were sure that it had robust measures in place to deliver effective oversight on Iran’s nuclear program. This is the best and maybe to only way to build the trust that will allow a dialogue on the many other issues we have in Iran”

William Hartung, Center for International Policy

“The historic Iran nuclear deal is a positive development in its own right. This is a huge step away from the ill-considered calls for military action against Iran that have emanated from U.S. neoconservatives. It’s good for America, good for Iran, and good for the region.”

Joe Klein, TIME

“Yes, the Iran deal is risky. But we have been taking all sorts of bellicose risks since Sept. 11, 2001. Almost all of our military ventures have failed. So many lives have been lost. It’s time, finally, to take a risk for peace.”

Michael Krepon, The Stimson Center

“This agreement significantly reduces Iran’s capacity to build nuclear weapons for ten years or more. It contains effective monitoring provisions. It is far better than any of the alternatives before us. A divide over this agreement, mostly along partisan lines, and repeated attempts to block its implementation will diminish U.S. leadership, destabilize the Middle East, place even greater burdens on U.S. military forces and weaken the U.S. Treasury. Friends and allies of the United States in Europe and the Pacific need to know that they can trust in U.S. executive agreements. Friends in the Middle East need a bipartisan plan to address their concerns about Iran. Congress voted to rid Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. Will it now vote against an agreement that verifiably limits Iran’s all-too-real nuclear capabilities?”

“A ‘nay’ vote by Republicans against the Iran deal can have grave consequences even if they cannot override a presidential veto. Division, mostly along party lines, is never cost-free on national security issues. If Republicans block implementation of this agreement, Tehran will be off the hook. The United States and its friends and allies will then face the worst of both worlds: an Iran that is under no obligations to limit its nuclear capabilities and that welcomes foreign investment.”

Ellen Laipson, President and CEO of Stimson

“Diplomacy – the long and hard slog of it – is one of the victors here. A negotiated agreement to change Iran’s policy and practice on issues with great regional security consequence could set a precedent for problem solving in a region where the resort to force is the default position. To make this agreement a truly lasting contribution to regional peace, all parties will need to support its implementation and Iran in particular could signal to its neighbors that it is willing to address other causes of tension and insecurity.”

Susan Rice, National Security Advisor

“We have complete ability on our own to go into the Security Council with evidence of a violation after a process and snap those sanctions back into place. [The verification time] is more than an adequate time and we shouldn’t be worried.”

Alex Vatanka, Middle East Institute

“The Iranian public is very optimistic and hopeful that the painful economic sanctions will soon begin to be rolled back. The United States, for its part, has succeeded in finding a diplomatic path forward.”

Sen. Chris Murphy

“The best way to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is through diplomacy, not war. At a time when the Middle East is awash in crippling violence, we have an opportunity to address one of the most dangerous threats to the United States and the region through a negotiation, and I congratulate President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and their team for the agreement that was reached today.”

Atlantic Council

“The Iran Task Force of the Atlantic Council supports the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) announced in Vienna this week and applauds the bold intent and intense efforts of President Barack Obama and his team of diplomats and scientists who worked so hard to bring it to fruition. At the same time we support the JCPOA, we believe it is necessary to view the agreement with a clear-eyed, realistic perspective, wishing for the best outcome but also being prepared for less-favorable scenarios given past Iranian conduct. We hope that our colleagues in Congress will share this objective with a non-partisan appraisal of the agreement. This agreement is better than the alternatives if the JCPOA is rejected.” 

National Iranian American Council

“With a nuclear deal in hand, we who urged that the U.S. and Iran must give diplomacy a chance have been proven right. Peace was possible, provided that the right policies were adopted and backed with sufficient political will. Make no mistake: if Congress rejects this good deal with Iran, there will be no better deal forthcoming and Congress will be left owning an unnecessary war.” 

Ami Ayalon, Fmr. Director of Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service)

“Reaching the agreement wasn’t a mistake. It is the best of the available options, even though it strengthens Iran as a troublemaker.” 

Hans Blix, Fmr. Head of the IAEA

“I think it is a remarkably far-reaching and detailed agreement. And I think it has a potential for stabilizing and improving the situation in the region as it gradually gets implemented. The alternative mind you, as Obama says, the alternative really is toward war.” 

Chuck Freilich, Harvard Kennedy School

“[The deal] is a compromise agreement that postpones an existential threat to Israel, opens the possibility for a strategic change in the Middle East and strengthens Israel’s security.” 

Leslie H. Gelb, Council on Foreign Relations

“As for the heart of the nuclear agreement— for certain it is not perfect, but it does represent clear steps forward in holding Tehran to account on its nuclear efforts. All provisions regarding developing uranium or plutonium hold Iran way below where it is at present and where it’s been headed.” 

Philip Gordon, Council on Foreign Relations 

“A bipartisan group of experts and distinguished former U.S. officials, including some of my former colleagues from the administration’s Iran team, put forward a similar list. It will be interesting to see whether the signatories of the Washington Institute letter conclude the outcome in Vienna meets the necessary bar. On balance I think it does.”

Efraim Halevy, Fmr. head of the Israeli National Security Council

“Without an agreement, Iran will be free to do as it pleases, while the sanctions regime will anyway crumble, as many of the world’s countries will rush to Tehran to sign profitable contracts. Iran made concessions in a series of critical matters. A moment before we storm Capitol Hill, led by the Israeli ambassador to Washington, it’s important to hold a profound debate in Israel on whether no agreement is preferable to an agreement which includes components that are crucial for Israel’s security. There will be no other agreement and no other negotiations. What is better, a signed agreement or no agreement?” 

Aaron David Miller, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 

“There’s no question the Obama administration got what it wanted out of this deal: a slower, smaller Iranian nuclear program more easily monitored and constrained for at least a decade. No chance now of a pre-emptive Israeli strike, and no need for an American one. For now, a putative nuclear crisis has been defused and kicked down the road.” 

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

“[The deal gives Iran] an opportunity to prove to the world that it intends to pursue a nuclear program solely for peaceful purposes. If Iran seizes that opportunity … then it will find the international community and the United States willing to provide a path out of isolation and toward greater engagement.”

Senator Dick Durbin

“The agreement before us is a comprehensive solution.” 

“Given a choice between the invasion of Iran or working in a diplomatic fashion toward a negotiation so that we can lessen this threat to the world, I think President Obama made the right choice.”
“There are critics, we’ve heard a lot of them in the Senate, but there isn’t a single critic that’s stepped up with a better idea.” 


  1. Chuck Woolery July 20, 2015 / 8:48 PM

    The nature of reality is not determined by popular opinion or majority vote. The greatest threat to humanities security (and increasingly our freedoms and prosperity) is the two persistent opposing beliefs. One side believes security is a function of armaments. The other is certain that security is a function of disarmament. Security is neither. Security is increasingly an illusion in a world of injustice combined with increasingly and irreversible access to multiple dual use technologies, which separately or synergisticly, are capable of creating any number of unprecedented and catastrophic WMD (bio, cyber, nano, robotics, even conventional). Security is essentially a function of justice. ‘No justice…no peace’…as so many wise souls have suggested. It is time to start planning for the transformation of the UN into a democratic body capable of enforcing laws that put the protection of human rights above the rights of nations, corporations or religious ideologies to do whatever they like, to whomever they like, whenever they like. I highly recommend reading a review of the recently released report by the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance.

    The Commission was chaired by former US Secretary of State and Ambassador to the UN, Madeleine K. Albright.

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