As Ayatollah Balks, Obama Ex-Advisers Slam Nuke Deal

Experts fear deal will 'fall short...of a 'good' agreement'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2015 7:37 AM CDT
As Ayatollah Balks, Obama Ex-Advisers Slam Nuke Deal
On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses Iranian top officials in a mosque at his residence in Tehran, Iran.   (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

With five days until the deadline for a nuclear deal, Iran's supreme leader is drawing new "red lines" in the sand on previously agreed-upon points of contention, including that sanctions against the country be lifted immediately or "we will never agree with it." Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iran is against a 10- to 12-year check on nuclear development and research, and insists it should be able to continue its nuclear program for peaceful purposes once the agreement expires, reports CNN. Khamenei also suggests Iran may not cooperate with UN inspectors. Following his comments, foreign policy experts, including five of President Obama's former advisers on Iran, issued an open letter, describing fears that too many concessions will foster a deal that "may fall short...of a 'good' agreement," per the New York Times.

The letter notes such a deal might delay Iran's nuclear program, but "will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability." The experts—including Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross, former CIA director David Petraeus, and proliferation expert Robert Einhorn, who devised the sanctions against Iran—say inspectors must be able "to take samples, to interview scientists and government officials, to inspect sites, and to review and copy documents" before sanctions are lifted. Though John Kerry appeared to back away from making Iran accountable for evidence of past offenses last week, a senior administration official says the letter "in large part tracks with the US negotiating position inside the negotiating room." The White House adds it's more concerned with Iran's actions than its words. (More Iran stories.)

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