As Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to fly to Vienna Friday to lend a final push to the Iran nuclear talks, a bipartisan group of leading security experts, diplomats and retired senior military officers warned that absent several key provisions, an impending deal “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement.”
Tuesday marks the deadline agreed by Iran and the P5+1 group – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – to conclude an agreement with the declared aim of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability under the cover of its civilian nuclear program.
The supposed “framework” of that agreement was announced in early April, but the U.S. and Iranian versions of what it actually entails differ significantly.
Major areas in dispute feature in the statement issued Thursday by the group of experts convened by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy which said that “most of us would have preferred a stronger agreement.” (The statement reflected “the broad consensus of the group,” whose members endorsed it in their personal capacities, the institute said.)
The signatories – among them former CIA Director David Petraeus, former Obama administration arms control and nonproliferation officials Gary Samore and Robert Einhorn, and former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. James Cartwright – underlined five key points.