A former commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and a retired Army general who once commanded all U.S. troops in Korea are among dozens of retired senior military officers publicly opposing a revived nuclear deal with Iran, amid signs the Biden administration and other world powers may be close to an agreement with Tehran.
Retired U.S. Marine General James F. Amos and Army Gen. Walter L. Sharp along with 44 other generals and admirals signed the open letter organized by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) that calls on President Biden and Congress to reject the emerging nuclear deal with Iran. JINSA opposed the original 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration and other world powers with Iran, a deal that President Trump unilaterally repudiated three years later.
President Biden promised as a candidate to restore the agreement, which lifts international sanctions on Iran’s economy in exchange for new curbs and monitoring of Iran’s suspect nuclear programs.
“The new deal will be shorter and weaker than the original 2015 agreement, endanger U.S. national security, and threaten the very existence of our regional partners,” JINSA officials said in a statement.
Russia, now engaged in an invasion of Ukraine that has cost thousands of lives, is playing a central role in talks in Vienna aimed at crafting the new Iran deal. Organizers of the letter say it will enable an empowered Iran, which critics say is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, to “cast its own nuclear shadow over the Middle East.”
“As retired American military leaders who devoted their lives to the defense of our nation, we oppose this emerging deal that is poised to instantly fuel explosive Iranian aggression and pave Iran’s path to become a nuclear power, threatening the American homeland and the very existence of America’s regional allies,” the letter states.
The military leaders said they were concerned about several key points in the deal, such as not compelling Iran to reveal the extent of its past efforts to develop nuclear weapons, relying on Russia to store Iran’s enriched uranium, failing to curb Iran’s conventional arsenal or its intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the U.S., and removing the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — accused of being responsible for hundreds of U.S. military deaths in Iraq — from the U.S. terrorist list.
“We instead support diplomacy that would genuinely end the threat posed by Iran’s military nuclear program and counter Iran’s regional aggression, backed up by credibly drawn and enforced red lines against Iranian nuclear and regional escalation,” the military leaders wrote.