Obama administration: Iran deal 'not perfect'
February 4th, 2014
06:51 PM ET

Obama administration: Iran deal 'not perfect'

By Jamie Crawford

An interim agreement that freezes aspects of Iran's nuclear program is not ideal but is necessary to achieve a long-term accord, a senior Obama administration official said Tuesday.

"This is not perfect, but this does freeze and roll back their program in significant ways and give us time on the clock to in fact negotiate that comprehensive agreement," Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Sherman, along with Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen, testified about the six-month deal negotiated between Iran and the United States and five other world powers to halt parts of Iran's disputed nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from sanctions.
In her testimony, Sherman repeatedly stressed the interim deal was "merely a first step" to a more comprehensive final agreement.
Many members of Congress, including a number of Democrats, are pushing for legislation that would impose additional sanctions against Tehran to ensure that every aspect of the interim deal is implemented and that Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon.
The Obama administration has vowed to veto any new sanctions for the duration of the interim deal to allow for diplomatic breathing room.
"If all we achieve is the essence of an early-warning system of Iran's future breakout ability, and the sanctions regime has collapsed, and the only options for this or any future President will be to accept a nuclear-armed Iran or a military option, in my view, that is not in the national security interest of the United States," said Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said.
While senators argued the interim agreement does not renounce a right for Iran to enrich uranium, while allowing for some relief from the sanctions that have choked its economy, administration officials maintain intense pressure remains.
"Over the six-month duration of the joint plan, Iran's struggling economy will continue to be buffeted by sanctions, as the core sanctions architecture remains firmly in place," Cohen said in his testimony.
"In short, the continuing impact of our sanctions and the accumulative impact of those sanctions means that the Iranian economy will continue to massively under perform for the foreseeable future," he said.
But the travel of various business delegations to Iran since the interim agreement took effect, along with a recent report that Russia was implementing an oil-for-goods deal with Iran to ease the economic burden from sanctions has been gaining traction for opponents of the deal.
"At all levels of our government, including at the highest level, we have raised our concerns quite directly with Russia about this," Sherman said. "My own sense is that it is not moving forward at this time."
Many members of the committee were critical of the administration's handling of the deal with Iran, but expressed a willingness to figure out a way to work together on the issue.
But not everyone agreed the current deal had a high chance of success.
"I think this thing's a disaster," Sen. Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican, told Sherman. "I think it - I was stunned when I saw what the - what the agreement was."

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  19. robbiej

    the USA is working to make the world a UN police state-–the Iran deal is only one step in the big process

    February 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  20. Shahin

    Iran will not give up it's right to enrichment. The reality is Iran is not seeking a bomb but in fact they do seek nuclear power. Currently they buy most of their refined petroleum at a huge cost to a starving economy and adding sanctions to that make their economy one of the worst in the region. Which is what Israel is really after! Remove sanctions and add to it Iran's ability to generate significant nuclear power will promote Iran's economy to number 1 in the region or in other words Iran will be the most powerful, richest nation in the region inside a decade. That is what Israel and the west don't want to see but can't say.

    February 6, 2014 at 7:25 am | Reply
    • George

      Your information is dated. Iran used to import 40% of its gasoline several years ago. Now, it is actually exporting gasoline.

      February 6, 2014 at 9:42 am | Reply
  21. George

    I watched Wendy Sherman's testimony in Congress. She is dreaming if she thinks she can get all the things that she talked about in the final agreement. She thinks that "Iran does not need an underground enrichment facility." Well, when you threaten to bomb their nuclear facilities, they certainly have every right to build an underground facility. Then, she said, "Iran does not need a heavy water reactor." Well, what does she know about the application and the nature of this facility? She is an ignoramus technically. Iran has every right to build the heavy water reactor in Arak. There is nothing sinister about it.

    February 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  22. changeirannow

    There are certain historically bad decisions made throughout history. Neville Chamberlain declaring peace in our time after meeting with Hitler in Munich is one. Granting Iran sanctions relief without firm concessions to dismantle its nuclear program is another. What the West forgets and why this is such a bad deal is that we are conditioning an agreement on the "hope" of compliance from a nation who's leaders answer to the word of God as interpreted by the supreme leader. At best that seems whimsical. At worst it’s very naive. Any agreement needs to call for concrete demonstrations of compliance; otherwise you can never ensure real change. Iran has never demonstrated it can follow through on agreements and unless it does so now, agreeing to lift sanctions on a promise is absurd.

    February 5, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Reply
    • George

      If you think that this deal is at the level of the Munich agreement with Hitler, you have to have your head examined for a serious degenerative disease. To throw out Hitler's name so cavalierly is astonishing. Grow up! There is nothing in the world today that is comparable to Nazi Germany.

      February 5, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Reply
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  24. Marty

    This clown is a disaster but wait next we may have The “Butcher of Benghazi “and “Slick Willie” in the White House. We've come a long way from Harry Truman and Ronald Regan!

    February 5, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  25. uncdig

    my way or the highway leadership style of Obama once again

    February 5, 2014 at 8:27 am | Reply
  26. AngryJew

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    February 5, 2014 at 4:18 am | Reply
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      February 6, 2014 at 7:22 am | Reply
  27. Ken

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    February 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  28. Ed

    Obama needs to be impeached ASAP.

    February 4, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Reply
    • George

      For what? Do you even know what this agreement is about? Can you even find Iran in the map of the world? OK, how big is Iran compared to France? Do you know? You are a total ignoramus it seems.

      February 5, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  29. Ed

    Another horrible move by a horrible leader.... Obama.

    February 4, 2014 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  30. Stoner

    Bad move Obama .....your going to regret it

    February 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  31. zcyrus

    Keeping all the Nuclear facilities safe and no agreement sign up and giving them $550 milion dollar?!
    For what? sending for Hezbolah?

    February 4, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Reply
    • George

      Hey, genius, nobody is giving them any money. It is their own money.

      February 5, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  32. zcyrus

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    Farsi VOA poll: – 79% of iranian from 26,865 votes have been votes to the 'Iran Regime is making the bomb and only tightening Sanctions would work'.

    How the 5 +1 fooling itself?

    February 4, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Reply

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