CIA Chief: Critics of Lausanne Accord “Disingenuous”

CIA Chief: Critics of Lausanne Accord “Disingenuous” CIA Chief: Critics of Lausanne Accord “Disingenuous”

Opponents of the initial agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program are being “disingenuous” when they say the deal could allow the Middle Eastern state to build nuclear weapons, the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency said on Tuesday.

The initial accord reached last week between Iran and the major powers in the Swiss city of Lausanne - which would lift economic sanctions in exchange for Iran’s agreement to limit its nuclear activities for a specified period of time - is likely the most realistic deal that could be reached, CIA Director John Brennan told an audience of students and faculty at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Reuters reported.

“The individuals who say that this deal provides a pathway for Iran to a bomb are being wholly disingenuous, in my view, if they know the facts and understand what is required for a program,” Brennan said at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “I certainly am pleasantly surprised that the Iranians have agreed to so much here.”

Iran denies the allegation that it may have been seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of a civilian program, saying the work is solely for peaceful purposes such as electricity generation and medical applications.

Democrats in Washington are joining forces with Republican leaders who were early critics of the deal in supporting a bill that would give the US Congress the ability to approve or reject sanctions relief, a move that US President Barack Obama said could undermine the negotiations at a critical stage.

Brennan, who has headed the US spy agency since 2013, said he understood that some critics of the deal were wary that even with an accord Iran would have the ability “to cause more trouble” in the Middle East, where neighboring countries including Iraq are fighting violent groups including the so-called Islamic State.

“That’s a legitimate issue, concern and argument,” Brennan claimed, adding that “but that’s why I say what they shouldn’t be doing is trying to pull apart this deal ... that’s as solid as you’re going to get.”

“You’re not going to get the Iranians to just totally dismantle everything and say, ‘OK, we’re not going to pursue any type of nuclear capability from a peaceful perspective.”

The CIA director said it was a hopeful sign that the Iranian government was willing to engage in eight days of talks in Lausanne, noting that President Hassan Rouhani had “much greater reasonableness.”