President Obama’s nominee to become the Pentagon’s No. 2 officer joined a chorus of defense hawks worried the landmark deal meant to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions will jumpstart the Iranian economy and generate more revenue for the regime’s military forces.
Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, currently the head of U.S. Transportation Command, told Congress during his nomination hearing Tuesday that increased Iranian revenue could be used “to sponsor state terrorism should they choose to do so.”
The agreement between the Iran and several Western countries, including the U.S., would allow the Islamic republic to pursue a limited atomic program for peaceful purposes over the next decade while also lifting sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy as well as a key arms embargo.
President Obama hailed the historic deal, announced on Tuesday after two years of negotiations, as a way to prevent Tehran from producing highly enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium — materials needed to build a nuclear weapon. Others criticized the pact, saying it would result in more funding for the regime to develop nuclear centrifuges and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
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