Just hours before President Obama delivered his State of the Union address (1/28/14), which included remarks (analyzed here) lauding how the P5 +1 agreement “halted” Iran’s nuclear weapons development program, a joint Congressional hearing demonstrated otherwise. Gregory S. Jones, a Senior Researcher at the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center testified that “the great flaw in the deal” was “it permits Iran to retain centrifuge enrichment.” He added, pointedly,
This fact has been denied by Secretary of State Kerry but the Joint Plan of Action says in two separate places that the follow-on Comprehensive Solution would “involve a mutually defined enrichment programme….” Note that the text says “would,” not “might” or “could.” That the Comprehensive Solution will permit Iranian centrifuge enrichment was later confirmed by the Obama administration national security spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan who said, “We are prepared to negotiate a strictly limited enrichment program.”
Jones’ written testimony concluded,
The only reasonable negotiating position is for the U.S. and the P5+1 to insist that Iran stops all uranium enrichment and dismantles its centrifuge enrichment facilities. President Obama and others have recognized that this would be the best outcome from the negotiations with Iran but have said that it is an unrealistic demand since Iran would never agree.
The hearings also revealed that the White House was refusing to release the full written text of the agreement with Iran. House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) member Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) complained,
Why is it that members of Congress have to go to a super secret location, a cone of silence … to look at the deal?… It’s a very easy to read document; one doesn’t have to be an expert. If this is such a great deal and so good for peace and diplomacy in our time why is it held in secret?…If the administration is proud of it, I think they should highlight it.
Jones concurred, stating “It does bother me,” that the deal has been kept secret, adding,
It appears to me the administration has negotiated an agreement it does not fully understand and I don’t understand how that can happen…I don’t see how there’s going to be an agreement.