Nuclear Policy Experts Expect a Very Good Deal With Iran

Scores of politicians and ideologues oppose the coming deal with Iran. But nuclear policy experts are overwhelmingly in favor of this effort to shrink and contain Iran's nuclear program.

We do not yet know all the details of the deal, but if it lives up to the framework agreement reached on April 2, it will be a very good deal. An historic deal. A major victory for U.S. security and the security of our allies.

Don't just take my word for it. This is the view of the large majority of national security experts, former government officials, technical nuclear experts and former military and diplomatic leaders.

As I wrote last week, "There is an overwhelming consensus among non-proliferation, nuclear policy, and national security experts that a negotiated accord is the best, and likely the only, way to ensure that Iran never builds a nuclear weapon."

For example, a bipartisan group of more than 50 former national security and military leaders signed a letter in April applauding the negotiators and urging Congress to refrain from impeding ongoing talks. Although withholding judgment until the final deal is reached, these policy heavyweights found that "the framework represents important progress toward our goal of blocking an Iranian nuclear weapon."

Signers of the letter included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former National Security Advisors Samuel Berger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Brent Scowcroft; retired Generals Anthony Zinni and Frank Kearney; retired Admirals William Fallon, Eric Olsen, and Joe Sestak; former Ambassadors Thomas Pickering, Nicolas Burns, Chester Crocker, James Dobbins, Michael Armacost, Daniel Kurtzer, and Frank Wisner; and issue experts such as George Perkovich, Graham Allison, Robert Einhorn, Michèle Flournoy, and Gary Sick, among others.

Unfortunately, you would never know this if you relied on congressional hearings or most media coverage of the negotiations.

For example, in the past 18 months, Congress has staged 21 public hearings on the Iran agreement, calling 41 witnesses. Of these, four have been witnesses from the administration while 36 came from non-governmental organizations. Of the outside witnesses, an overwhelming 28 were clear critics of the Iran agreement and only seven could be called supportive. That is a ratio of four to one, critics to supporters.

As we have gotten closer to a final agreement, the torrent of criticism has grown, but very little of it comes from actual nuclear policy experts. In truth, the expert opinion is decisively in favor of the negotiating effort.

To read my full analysis, in the online journal, LobeLog, please click here.