Dozens of Retired US Generals & Admirals Oppose the Biden Admin’s Attempt to Re-Start Iran Nuke Deal
By: Fern Sidman
It would appear that not everybody is on board with President Biden’s attempts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. It was recently reported that prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration gave the green light to Russia to negotiate on behalf of United States interests during the Vienna nuclear talks with Iran and other European countries.
On Wednesday, Fox News reported that 46 retired U.S. generals and admirals voiced their opposition to the ongoing negotiations with Iran on striking a nuclear deal, in an open letter to President Biden.
The letter to the president was written in conjunction with the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA). The letter stated: “In Ukraine, we are bearing witness to the horrors of a country ruthlessly attacking its neighbor and, by brandishing its nuclear weapons, forcing the rest of the world largely to stand on the sidelines/ The new Iran deal currently being negotiated, which Russia has played a central role in crafting, will enable the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to cast its own nuclear shadow over the Middle East.”
According to the Fox News report, prominent officials in the US military expressed their consternation that the insistence of the Biden administration to jump back into a nuclear deal with Tehran could weaken the U.S.’s position to hold Iran accountable.
Because the Obama initiated Iran nuclear deal was replete with weak points and was ultimately not in the best interests of the United States and Israel, former President Trump quashed the US’s participation in the deal in 2018.
On particular, what served as the impetus for the Trump administration to exit the deal was that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), did not report that Tehran had violated the JCPOA, but Iran’s continued deployment of ballistic missiles – capable of carrying a nuclear warhead was the decisive factor in bolting the ill conceived deal, as was reported by Fox News.
The US received strong pushback to leaving the Iran deal by such countries as the United Kingdom, France and Germany, as was reported by Fox News.
Speaking to Fox News, retired Air Force Gen. Charles Wald, who also formerly served as deputy commander of U.S, European Command, said he supports finding a solution to the nuclear issue in the Middle East through diplomacy, but argued no deal is better than a bad deal.
“The idea of an agreement is a good idea. We agree with diplomacy,” Wald told Fox News. “But we agreed with a fair agreement that would not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon breakout and then have weapons delivery systems that would then change the dynamic in the Middle East – particularly for Israel but all other countries too.”
Fox News also reported that Wald said that among his major concerns with the latest version of the deal that is being proposed is that the Biden administration is not taking into account what Iran is doing as it pertains to its role as a chief sponsor of international terrorism and its unflagging support of the Houthis in the war in Yemen. The report also indicated that the war in Yemen has created one of the greatest humanitarian crises.
For about a year or so, indirect talks through European allies concerning the Iran deal have taken place on and off. Fox News reported that President Biden made re-entering a nuclear agreement with Iran a top priority of his administration.
Iran has made it clear that one of the negotiating points in the talks would be that the US remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), from the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. Published reports have indicated that the US is giving serious consideration to the removal of the IRGC from the foreign terrorist list, although no decision has been made as of yet.
The US has also implored Iran to cease and desist in its support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas as they view such groups as fueling unrest in the volatile region of the Middle East.
Concerning the possible removal of the IRGC from the terrorist list, Wald told Fox News, “That’s a red flag. That just doesn’t sit well with us because the IRGC is the most malicious group in the region.”
The retired general said the death of 600 U.S. military members could be attributed “directly” to IRGC, and noted they continue to attack U.S. and allied forces in the region, as was reported by Fox News.
Currently, the Iran deal talks are stalled and those officials participating in negotiations are not forthcoming with specifics and details, the report indicated.
Wald also told Fox News that he would need to see “unfettered access by the IAEA” and assurances that Iran will not continue with its ballistic missile system even if a nuclear agreement is reached, in order for him to support a deal with Iran.
“The Iranians will push up to the point where they know something bad is going happen to them,” Wald continued. “So the more difficult we make for them to operate with impunity, the more they’re going to take advantage of it.”
Also, on Thursday, Dianne Lob, Chair, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement on the Iran deal negotiations.
“We are deeply concerned about news media reports regarding components of a renewed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran.
“Iranian demands to remove its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) blacklist are outrageous. Iran remains the world’s most significant supporter of terrorism directly and through its regional and international proxies, including the IRGC, an armed, political faction responsible for untold deaths, violations of human rights, support for terror, and the targeting of American and Western interests across the globe. From the torture of Iranian citizens who speak against the extremist regime, to targeting U.S. forces including a recent missile strike targeting the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, Iraq, to being the mastermind of deadly attacks against Jewish targets in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the 1990’s, there is no doubt that the IRGC should be targeted for more sanctions, not given any tacit pass or relief by the West.
“Some contend that the Foreign Terrorist Organization list is purely symbolic, it is not: the FTO list expressly prohibits providing material support to listed terrorist organizations. Removing the IRGC restriction would give an explicit green light for bad actors to help Iran achieve its violent goals. Giving a blank check of approval or exempting in any way even part of an entity that promotes and engages in murder, subversion, and undermining governments, sends an unmistakable negative signal throughout the Middle East. Maintaining the IRGC’s rightful place on the terrorist list reaffirms America’s commitment to our friends and our determination to our foes.
“We are also concerned about cash payments – reported to be as much as hundreds of billions of dollars – that would flow directly to Iran with little ability to monitor spending once received. Given the American-led international isolation of Russia, we question its reported role as the adjudicator of Western compliance with the deal, as well as the exemption of Iran from Russia’s Ukraine-related sanctions.”
“The international community must not invest in a regime that, along with its IRGC and terrorist proxies, have the innocent blood of Americans, Israelis, and many others on their hands as they pursue their extremist, hegemonic, and nuclear aspirations.”