In hearing, Iran and nuclear experts express concern about sunset clause, breakout elements of emerging Iran deal


In a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Iran and non-proliferation experts expressed their concerns about the emerging Iran deal. In prepared testimony, Ray Takeyh of the Council of Foreign Relations, who formerly served in Obama’s State Department, called the emerging deal “deficient." Takeyh was particularly alarmed by the sunset clause. In his prepared testimony, he wrote, “Under the impending agreement, after the expiration of the sunset clause Iran has the right to build up its nuclear program to whatever size it wishes.” He further asserted, “[T]he sunset clause has to be replaced with the notion of Iran satisfying the international community that its program is strictly for peaceful purposes before it becomes a member of the NPT in good standing.” Takeyh made clear that the sunset clause was the issue of greatest concern to him, and suggested that after 10 years, there should be a vote to see if restrictions should be extended for another 10 years.

David Albright, a scientist and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, also emphasized that the sunset clause provision of the deal is problematic: “Special attention should be given to an agreement whose nuclear limits sunset after 10-15 years, potentially leaving the world with an even more insecure and heightened situation in Iran in terms of a greatly reduced Iranian breakout timeline, and more advanced centrifuges spinning and capable of creating weapon-grade uranium…within shorter periods of time.” After the deal expires, Albright wrote in prepared testimony, Iran could “reestablish Fordow as a uranium enrichment centrifuge plant with a capacity far in excess of its current capacity.” Fordow is a fortified facility built into a mountainside, believed to be impervious to military attack. Albright echoed Takeyh in saying that the Obama administration’s markers have shifted from making sure Iran has a purely civilian program to ensuring a one-year breakout time. However, because Iran is allowed to conduct R&D on advanced centrifuges and would be able to install them after a certain point under the deal, the breakout period would shrink such that it would be zero, by President Obama’s admission, by year 13 after the deal is signed. At this point, Albright warned, “Iran’s surge to the bomb would be undetectable.”


By changing course and “halting the Iranians’ path toward nuclear capability,” the Obama administration could reverse what is potentially “one of the greatest missteps” in history and strengthen the emerging nuclear deal with Iran, Josh Block, the president and CEO of The Israel Project, wrote in an op-ed published today in The Baltimore Sun. The Israel Project publishes The Tower.

A final nuclear deal must guarantee the dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, linked with fully transparent inspections and verifications of Iran’s nuclear-related sites any time and anywhere. Anything short of these prerequisites will greenlight the Iranian terrorist regime’s insidious clandestine nuclear activity.

Along with mandating full disclosure of Iran’s suspected military dimensions, Iran’s ability to breakout must be capped unconditionally. The lifting of nuclear restrictions after 12 to 13 years currently outlined in the Lausanne framework cannot occur if we are to remain dedicated to completely preventing Iran from acquiring and using nuclear weapons.

Block also argued for increasing sanctions, noting that the sanctions already imposed on Iran have been effective.

To be clear, economic sanctions were working. Last winter, the Islamic Republic of Iran was facing a balance of payments crisis, and its economy was on the brink. Rather than capitulating once again to Iranian deceit, economic pressure should be increased to give Iran the choice the sanctions were originally intended to provide: Face steadily increasing economic pressure or, as the Obama administration used to put it, “dismantle its nuclear program.”

Block observed that Iran’s intransigence during the nuclear negotiations, even with sanctions in place, suggests that Iran will not be more flexible once sanctions are lifted. “On the contrary,” he wrote, “these conditions foment the perfect nuclear storm and embolden Tehran.”

A number of Block’s recommendations were also made earlier this week by a group of nuclear, military, and foreign policy experts, including five former members of the Obama administration. These recommendations include demanding that inspectors have full access to Iran’s military sites, receiving a full accounting of Iran’s past and ongoing nuclear work, and extending sanctions until Iran complies fully with all the terms of an agreement. Similarly, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last year that “it’s really important for there to be so little enrichment or no enrichment, at least for a long period of time.”

In a speech earlier this week, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated that he opposed any long-term freeze on Iran’s nuclear research and development, the full disclosure of past nuclear work, or inspections of military sites. He also demanded the immediate lifting of sanctions for agreeing to any deal. (via


The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) is collaborating with the Minshar School of Art to turn its “trademark” giant video wall into a “canvas” on which students’ video art works will be displayed.The exhibition will include 30 works — by students from the visual communication, photography, cinema and animation departments of the school —  which have been joined together into a single 20-minute video. The ‘digital gallery’ collaboration will be launched tomorrow, as part of the White Night event (June 25, 2015). TASE will open its doors at 20:00 to host a free-entry evening for the general public, which will be entirely devoted to culture, art and music. Throughout July, the work will be displayed on the TASE’s video wall once every hour during the trading day, for the benefit of the general public and visitors at the TASE’s new building. “The collaboration with the Minshar School of Art is another tier in the series of actions taken by the TASE with the aim of bringing the general public closer to the financial worlds that touch on the lives of each and every one of us. The TASE is not just numbers and figures constantly moving on a digital screen, but also an entire world of endless innovation and creativity – groundbreaking enterprises by young and promising companies seeking to introduce their new ‘business creation’ to the world,” said Idit Yaaron, Head of the Marketing and Communications Unit at TASE. “We are proud to provide the stage to showcase the future creative minds of Israel, both in the business world and in the art world, and invite the public to come and enjoy the creative artwork displayed in the project.” (via Israel21c)

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