Surprising Praise for Iran Deal

Nicholas Burns, lead U.S. negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program under President George W. Bush : “It may be the biggest foreign policy bet of Barack Obama’s presidency. It is also a sensible step forward for Iran and the west . . . This tentative progress is testament to the power of diplomacy. President Obama and John Kerry, his secretary of state, deserve credit for persisting with negotiations despite trenchant opposition from some quarters in Congress.”

Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies : “…the proposed parameters and framework in the Proposed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has the potential to meet every test in creating a valid agreement over time of the kind laid out earlier in the Burke Chair analysis circulated on March 30. It can block both an Iranian nuclear threat and a nuclear arms race in the region, and it is a powerful beginning to creating a full agreement, and creating the prospect for broader stability in other areas.”

Richard Haass, Council on Foreign Relations : “I’ll be honest, it was more substantive than I thought, it was more comprehensive than I thought. We still have 90 days to go to translate this into the comprehensive final document. But I actually think that, you know, the skeptics – including me – should be, all things being equal, pleasantly surprised.” [BBC]

Efraim Halevy, former director of Mossad and head of Israeli National Security Council. “Obama was right, Iran capitulated. Netanyahu should accept the American offer of dialogue on the draft agreement reached in Lausanne, instead of signalling his intent to scupper it out of hand.” []

General Michael Hayden, Former CIA and NSA Director : “It’s more than I thought we would demand, so in that sense I’m heartened… I freely admit, plans B, C, D, and E aren’t all that attractive either and so that’s why you can probably sense Bill, I’m willing to give this thing some time. Let’s see if we can get it to the right place so it’s acceptable.” [Think Progress]

David Ignatius, Washington Post Columnist : “The most compelling argument President Obama made Thursday for the nuclear framework deal with Iran was also the simplest one: The pact, once concluded, would be preferable to any realistic alternative . . . But the framework delivered more than many skeptics had feared. The problem is that the enervating bargaining will continue for another three months (at least) before the accord is final.” [Washington Post]

Bill O’Reilly, Fox News:  “Bill O’Reilly reacted to the Iran deal this afternoon on Fox by saying everyone should hear it out first before jumping all over it, because the last thing the U.S. needs is war with Iran. Shortly after President Obama spoke on the deal, O’Reilly told Gretchen Carlson the best thing to do now is “take a deep breath, step back, and say, ‘Okay, let’s hope it’s a decent thing.’” []

King Salman of Saudi Arabia : “Saudi Arabia’s King Salman staked out less confrontational ground, telling President Obama that he hoped it would strengthen “stability and security” in the region.” [Washington Post] Saudi cabinet: “Saudi Arabia’s cabinet said on Monday it welcomed an interim deal between Iran and world powers over Iran’s disputed nuclear program and that it hoped a final deal would rid the region of weapons of mass destruction.” [Reuters]

Gary Samore, Senior Leader of United Against Nuclear Iran and former Obama advisor : “Mr. Samore, who was Mr. Obama’s top adviser on weapons of mass destruction in his first term as president, said in an email that the deal was a “very satisfactory resolution of Fordo and Arak issues for the 15-year term” of the accord. He had more questions about operations at Natanz and said there was “much detail to be negotiated, but I think it’s enough to be called a political framework.” [New York Times]

Kori Schake,  Fellow at Hoover Institution : “I’m a Republican and I Support the Iran Nuclear Deal.” “[T]here are five good reasons to tune out the administration’s grandstanding and support this deal. Even a frequent critic of this White House can admit them. And you should, too … 1. The inspection provisions are solid … 2. They’ve connected it to regional concerns … 3. The sanctions regime was eroding, anyway. … 4. They released the terms of the deal. … 5. It closes the most dangerous gap.” [Foreign Policy]

Major General Amos Yadlin, Former Israeli Chief of Intelligence : “Considering that Iran now has 19,000 centrifuges, the agreement provides quite a good package. One has to think what might have happened if, as aspired to by Netanyahu and Steinitz, negotiations had collapsed. Had that happened, Iran could have decided on a breakout, ignored the international community, refused to respond to questions about its arsenal, continued to quickly enrich and put together a bomb before anyone could have had time to react. And therefore, with this in mind, it’s not a bad agreement.” [AL Monitor]