Don’t ‘cherry pick’ Iran deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dr. Jim Walsh, international security expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Council for a Livable World board member, testified June 25 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that members of Congress should resist the temptation to focus on one aspect of the agreement, considering it apart from the rest.

Evaluating an agreement is not about listing all the things that could go wrong (or right) with an agreement.

Negotiators, representing Iran, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, China and the United States, are currently working to reach a final deal by their self-imposed deadline of June 30. After completion, both bodies of Congress will have a chance to review the deal.

Walsh’s written testimony submitted to the committee addressed key components of the negotiations:

  • On Congress evaluating the terms of the deal: “Members of Congress should resist the strong and natural temptation to cherry pick or focus on one aspect of the agreement, considering it apart from the rest of the agreement. … Evaluating an agreement is not about listing all the things that could go wrong (or right) with an agreement. All actions carry risk, including not acting at all.”
  • On verification of Iran’s implementation of the agreement: “The U.S., Russia, France, Britain, Germany, Israel, Saudi Arabia (and most if not all the Gulf) all have their eyes on Iran, and many, including Iranian opposition groups, will be looking under every haystack and in every corner for the first signs of non-compliance.”

    All have their eyes on Iran, and many, including Iranian opposition groups, will be looking under every haystack and in every corner for the first signs of non-compliance.

  • On inspecting Iran’s nuclear sites to ensure Iran’s compliance: “Meeting that requirement does not require that inspectors take up residence at all of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Instead, it requires … ‘access where needed, when needed.’”
  • On the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program: “The objective should be sufficient information about Iran’s past nuclear activities such that an agreement can be effectively verified. More information is almost always preferred, but it is important to distinguish what is necessary from what is useful.”

Editor's note: For more than 50 years, the Council for a Livable World has been advocating for a more principled approach to U.S. national security and foreign policy. The council’s mission is to increase peace and security and to reduce the threats of war and nuclear weapons by representing its members in Washington and electing congressional candidates who support the same goals.

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