An open letter to Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, August 7, 2015
Dear Senator Blumenthal:
By now you and your staff had an opportunity to read and study the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (July 14, 2015). I have too. Although it’s not my job I read it because the deafening volume of unbridled criticism coming from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, your colleagues in the Republican Party, all the Republican candidates and organizations such as AIPAC was, if you were born yesterday, alarming. But we weren’t born yesterday, were we?
Based upon our reading of the JCPOA, with you having the benefit of your briefings and me following the issue in print and on the internet, we know that the Plan of Action is a really good deal for the United States and the world. We know this for the reasons so ably expressed by your colleague in the House, Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) (July 30th), among which are:
Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium will be reduced from 9,000 to 300 KG;
the number of centrifuges capable of converting that fuel into weapon grade plutonium will be reduced from a current 20,000 to 2,000;
Iran will not enrich any of its nuclear material above 3.65 %, a safe level useful only for research and energy generation, not for developing nuclear weapons;
no enrichment will occur for fifteen years at the deep underground reactor at Fordow and the heavy water reactor at Arak is being converted so that it will never produce material for a nuclear weapon;
sanctions relief is carefully calibrated to Iran’s ongoing fulfillment its many obligations under an agreed to time table and its failure to do so will result in a snapback of the sanctions;
sanctions relief not related to Iran’s nuclear program will remain in place; and
an ineffective inspection regime will be replaced by one that is effective and robust, up to and including the ability of the International Atomic Energy Commission, upon reasonable suspicion, to inspect any Iranian facility, including military facilities with the vote of the United States, Britain, France, Germany and the EU, without the assent of either China or Russia;
Iran’s breakout time goes from less than a year to some point in the future which is at least ten years away, a fact that critics have somehow converted from a huge positive to a negative (i.e., it’s not long enough)- to which we can only respond, “Are you kidding me?”
As we know, this is only a partial list of the JCPOA’s many attributes and a summary does not do justice to the incredible detail the drafters incorporated into the annexes. University of Alabama Law Prof. Dan Joyner, the author of a forthcoming book on Iran’s nuclear program expected to be published next year by Oxford University Books, recently wrote in Opinio Juris, calls the JCPOA “ a major success of international diplomacy, possibly to be credited with avoidance of war” and says further, “it is a carefully drafted, well organized document, and compliments are due its drafters.”
What then to make of its critics, like your colleague Senator Schumer who just came out against it? First, as President Obama said in his speech at American University, Israel is the only country in the world that opposes the JCPOA and we both know how strong and outsized an influence Israel has on US policy, or at least I do. The Republicans, for example, vowed on the very day the JCPOA was released to fight it and as you know these guys aren’t exactly speed readers.
Senator Schumer actually took three weeks to oppose it with heartfelt protestations about how hard this had been for him. But was there any doubt? He did actually point to a few strained reasons, like the 24 day limitation on inspections (that’s the outside time by the way) and not trusting our best allies (Britain, France and Germany) to put aside their commercial interests to demand an inspection if there was a need. Oh, and what does he propose in lieu of war…another round of negotiations.
Senator, you know that this train has left the station and you will never get all these countries to sit down again if for no other reason than they support the JCPOA and deservedly so.
In sum, I unequivocally urge you to do the right thing and support your President and, like him, not abrogate your constitutional responsibility to this country and come out in favor of the JCPOA.
That is what your Connecticut colleagues Senator Chris Murphy and Congressman Jim Himes have done and so must you…NOW! It’s really important. Thanks.
Very truly yours,