Ex-CIA Official: Trump Stance on Iran Deal Alarming

Ex-CIA Official: Trump Stance on Iran Deal AlarmingEx-CIA Official: Trump Stance on Iran Deal Alarming

As Tensions between the United States and Iran have reached new heights in recent weeks, a former senior official with the US Central Intelligence Agency has voiced concern over US President Donald Trump’s approach to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Amid warning shots fired by US ships against Iranian ones, as well as reported close calls when Iranian drones have buzzed the US military, Trump will be called upon to certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear accord. His administration has declared Iran in compliance, as required by law, twice during his tenure so far. But Trump has said he expects the US to declare Iran noncompliant when the next review is due in October.

The US president has put together a team of aides to pull together the intelligence so he can do just that, according to a report in Foreign Policy. David Cohen, former deputy director of CIA, said it was “very disconcerting” that it appears Trump may have made a conclusion about Iran before finding the intelligence to back it up.

“It stands the intelligence process on its head,” he told CNN in a recent talk. “Our intelligence analysts, who have access to all of our clandestine collection, access to what our allies around the world are collecting and access to IAEA reports and other open source information are in the best position to make that assessment of whether Iran is complying with the nuclear deal.

“If our intelligence is degraded because it is politicized in the way that it looks like the president wants to do here, that undermines the utility of that intelligence all across the board. If it’s politicized, that credibility and reliability is undermined.”

Earlier this week, presumably responding to these news reports, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said his nation’s nuclear program could be restarted within hours, if new US sanctions are imposed. Cohen said the international community likely would not unite with sanctions against Iran even if the United States finds Iran not in compliance.

“As a practical matter, you’re not going to have the rest of the international community; you’re not going to have our allies in Europe; you’re certainly not going to have the Russians and the Chinese coming along with us to reimpose real pressure on the Iranians. So you’ll have this fissure between the United States and essentially the rest of the world in trying to reinstate pressure on Iran,” Cohen said.

“On the other side of the coin, the Iranians, with the US having pulled out of the deal, will feel that they are absolved from adhering to their commitments under the nuclear deal. So maybe they will begin to spin more centrifuges.”


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