July 14, 2015

Reminder: Clinton Was Secretary of State, Owns Iran Deal

The draft nuclear agreement between Iran and the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, was announced today after many missed deadlines.

While Hillary Clinton has endorsed today’s deal, her official comments on the nascent deal lacked substance. However, in previous statements Clinton offered more explicit expectations for any deal with Iran.

Under today’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran is allowed uranium enrichment up to 3.67% for 15 years. Clinton, however, called for “so little enrichment or no enrichment … for a long period of time” because she believed “any enrichment will trigger an arms race in the Middle East.” Notably, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states have already said they will “match” Iran’s enrichment capabilities.

Another area of contention for Clinton is Iran’s breakout time. Clinton has called for a breakout time of over a year, but the “limits imposed by today’s agreement impose a breakout time of only one year.”

Evoking bipartisan concern in the United States is the ” contentious” arms embargo. According to The New York Times, restrictions on missiles would end in eight years and a “similar ban on the purchase and sale of conventional weapons would be removed in five years,” but, especially concerning, is that both could be lifted earlier. Democrats are said to be “worrying” over the arms embargo, and several in the Senate indicated they could withhold their support of a deal that lifted the embargo. Clinton has so far been silent on how the US should approach the arms embargo in the nuclear agreement.

Finally, Clinton called for a deal that “imposes an intrusive inspection program with no sites off limits.” Although Clinton claimed that today’s deal included “the access for inspections and the transparency that was absolutely necessary,” The Wall Street Journal reports it is “unlikely” that the IAEA will “have access anytime and anywhere to Iran’s nuclear sites.” In addition, a New York Times
report notes it is also “unclear whether the inspectors would be able to interview the scientists and engineers” who were key to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ “effort … to design a weapon that Iran could manufacture in short order.”

But unfortunately for Clinton, despite whatever rhetoric she ultimately comes up with to justify her support for the agreement, her previous qualifications for an agreement with Iran were not fully met with today’s deal. Indeed, Clinton will “own the agreement” that is being frowned upon by many in her own party, as Clinton is said to have “worked in harmony” on Iran with Obama during her tenure as Secretary of State.