June 24, 2015

Corker Holds Hearing Examining Past U.S. Negotiations to Stop Proliferation of Nuclear Technology and WMD

Expert Testimony Supports Demands for Anytime, Anywhere Inspections and Disclosure of Iran’s Past Weaponization Work

“Throughout the negotiations with Iran, I have been concerned that this administration has not learned from history and may repeat many of the mistakes made during the North Korea negotiations,” said Corker. “Over the past month, this committee has been educating itself as much as possible so we can fairly evaluate any deal the administration may reach. And as we have met with nuclear scientists, regional experts and former administration personnel, I have become more and more concerned with the direction of these negotiations and the potential redlines that may be crossed. It is our responsibility to examine this issue and any final deal that may be reached with a skeptics eye so we can determine whether it will be in the best interest of our country and the world.”

William Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, highlighted the importance of “intrusive verification” and “declaration” when citing lessons learned from past negotiations. Turning his attention to a nuclear agreement with Iran, Tobey placed particular emphasis on Iran’s disclosure of past military dimensions of its nuclear program.

“If experience is a guide, we are at the high water mark of international pressure on the issue. It will ebb after an agreement is completed and as time passes,” said Tobey. “If Tehran is not willing to disclose now the full extent of what the IAEA calls the ‘possible military dimensions’ of its nuclear program, Iran will be even more unlikely to do so at a later date. Those activities would remain protected. Sacrificing knowledge of past and possibly present actions for a future agreement would signal to Tehran at the outset that verification and compliance will not be serious priorities.”

Both witnesses responded to questions regarding claims by Secretary of State John Kerry that the U.S. has “absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities” of Iran’s nuclear program.

“Are there instances in which intelligence has been flawed with respect to evaluating the nuclear programs of other countries? History is replete with them, and the first one that I know of were the projections of when the Soviet Union would get a nuclear weapon,” said Tobey.

“Categorical claims, I’m usually suspicious of, so the fact that quote, ‘we know everything’ – I don’t know any subject on which that is true, including Iran’s nuclear program and activity,” said Dr. Graham Allison, Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.

At an additional hearing on Thursday, the committee will evaluate the key components of a final deal with Iran and what terms are necessary to stop Tehran from development of a nuclear weapon.

###