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>> Good afternoon.
>> Good afternoon.
>> I'm Susan Collins, the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and it's a great pleasure to welcome all of you here today for the first policy talks for the fall of 2015. It's actually very rare for the Ford School to host an event even before the start of the academic year, but as you know, the recent joint comprehensive plan for action, better known as the Iran deal, has generated really a national debate at a critical moment in US foreign policy. And as a school of public policy, the Ford School strives to generate community dialogue on important policy issues precisely through our public events series. And so we're especially pleased to host our White House guests for today's event and for providing us with an opportunity for just precisely that type of engagement. So today we are very pleased to welcome Paul Irwin and Matt Nosanchuk from the White House. They'll be introduced more fully in just a moment. Thank you both for traveling to Michigan, coming for this event to explain the Iran deal, to respond to questions, and to engage in an important conversation. I would also like to introduce my colleague and the co-director of the Ford School's International Policy Center, Assistant Professor, John Ciorciari. It's because of John's deep expertise on these issues and also his contacts that the Ford School is hosting today's event. John will introduce our speakers in just a moment and he will also moderate the conversation. Both John and our guests are prepared to field your questions during the question and answer period of today's event. Before I turn the floor over to John, I'd like to remind our audience that as with all Ford School events, we hope that today's program starts a conversation that will continue and we welcome suggestions for additional ways to continue this particular dialogue. As always, we welcome challenging questions during the question and answer period. John will moderate the Q&A from cards submitted either from the audience or from Twitter. Those of you who are following us online, please tweet your questions using the hashtag policy talks. We look forward to receiving them. And so let's get started with no further ado, let me turn the floor over to John Ciorciari. John.
>> Thank you Dean Collins, thanks to all of you for attending and, of course, to our distinguished guests, both supporters and opponents of the deal and can agree that it has immense consequence for US born policy, regional relations in the Middle East and beyond. There are people in our community who view this as a single foreign policy accomplishment. There are also those who are either upset about the deal or have questions. Fortunately, we have a chance today to learn more and to ask questions of our expert guest speakers. Paul Irwin is director for non-proliferation at the National Security Council and was a member of the US negotiating team. Matt Nosanchuk is associate director for public engagement and liaison to the American Jewish community on international issues. He's also in the [inaudible]. You've read more about their impressive backgrounds and their array of value of public service in the advertisement for this event. So without further ado I want to get into their presentation. Matt's going to begin, Paul will follow and then back to Matt. They'll speak for about 30 minutes laying out the deal and explaining it to us. While they're doing that, please write down or if you're on Twitter type in your questions. Making sure you're writing it legibly on one side of these cards that you were handed. Please pass them to one of our staff members who will be collecting them by the aisle. I'll do my best to ask a representative sample, including some tough questions. We're here to engage and with that let's give a round of applause to welcome our speakers and turn over the program.
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>> Thank you Professor Ciorciari, thank you Dean Collins and good afternoon everyone. It's a pleasure to be here today at the University of Michigan. As Professor Ciorciari said I'm from Michigan, so it's great to be back here today to talk about the Iran nuclear deal, which I and Paul and many others at the White House and throughout the administration have been working on for a long time. So I'm just going to talk very briefly to kind of set the stage here. So for my role is as associate director of the office of public engagement and liaison to Jewish community is to be kind of the outward facing voice of the White House with the public. So my role with the Iran deal began almost two years ago when the interim agreement was reached between the P5 plus one, which is the United States the permanent members of the Un Security Council in Germany with Iran. And when that interim agreement was announced we began this sustained effort to persuade, you know, persuade public, persuade Congress, to persuade interested advocates that this was the first step toward reaching what ultimately culminated with the announcement July of the joint comprehensive plan of action. So I'm from Michigan originally and the last time I was here at the University of Michigan was to talk to the law school about my work at the Justice Department on LGBT rights. So here I'm back talking about the Iran deal and what has one have to do with the other, not a whole lot substantively. But both, of course, are signature accomplishments of this president and this administration. And on the foreign policy side, the Iran nuclear deal, you know, represents the fulfillment of this president's commitment from the time he was a candidate for office to address the Iran nuclear issue by reaching an agreement that would verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. So this isn't something that was cooked up a few months ago. This isn't something that the president got up to speed on, you know, when the agreement was announced in July. This is something he personally has been committed to since he ran for president and even before that he has a long history of working on non-proliferation issues that was one of his signature issues in the senate when he worked on a bipartisan basis with Senator Richard Lugar from Indiana, a former senator who was one of the key Republicans who now supports the agreement. So it represents the fulfillment of the president's commitment on that issue and more broadly on foreign policy, it represents the fulfillment of the president's commitment to conducting important foreign policy issues through diplomacy by bringing the nation of the world together. To put the United States and our standing in the world in a different place than it was when we made the ill-fated decisions to go to war with Iraq. So this is an important issue for foreign policy overall, it's an important issue for the nuclear non-proliferation issue because it means that a regional power Iran will now not be permitted to obtain a nuclear weapon and that we'll be able to verify that. Which will then have consequences--positive consequences we believe in the region, uphold the security of our partners in the region, including Israel and also further national security more broadly. So, you know, Paul will talk about the details of framework of the deal in a moment, but I can't turn the floor over to him before noting that we're coming before you at, you know, an important point along the way. There are two numbers that I'll give you, one is 45, this is day 45 of the 60 day congressional review period. And we have been working hard each and every one of those days for very long days during this review period, which was agreed to by the administration with the Congress to give the Congress an opportunity to review what is an executive agreement not a treaty, so they would have an opportunity to review and consider that agreement. So now we are at day 45 of the review period which will conclude in a couple of weeks. And then the other significant number today is 34 because today the 34th senator announced in this case her support for the deal, Senator Mikulski and with 34 senators that provides us with the ability to sustain a presidential veto if a resolution of disapproval passes the Congress and goes to the president's desk. Now our, you know, view is that we are working hard to persuade each and every member of the Senate and the House who still hasn't decided their position to come out in support of the deal. So our work continues full force, you know, we are engaged in a sustained intensive effort to persuade the public and members of Congress on the facts of this deal, on the quality of this deal, on the fact that this is the better deal that everyone keeps talking about. And, you know, no one is more involved in that effort than the president himself and I can say that it's not hyperbole this president has been deeply engaged throughout the entire review period, you know, contributing to the outreach efforts that have resulted in our talking to, you know, more than 500 members of Congress. You know, him addressing all kinds of audiences, most recently an event I organized over 10,000, you know, members of the American Jewish community through a webcast that was broadcast on Friday of last week. And so many other engagements that he's been involved in, so he really has led the way to persuade people on the facts that this is a good deal, that this will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And now my colleague, Paul Irwin, who spent more time and probably than almost anybody else in the actual negotiations, he'll tell you how that deal will accomplish that. Paul.
>> Thank you. So it is a pleasure to be here and to speak to you today. As Matt said, I'm one of the substance matter experts on the deal and on our overall Iran nuclear policy at the White House and for the administration. Since this is now a theme I'm going to give you three numbers. I'm going to give you the number 13, the number 70, and the number 4. And the reason for that is to explain a little bit about how we got here and then where we are. So how we got here, first number 13. That's the number of years it's been since Iran was found to have a nuclear program that it should've declared under its obligations to the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and in essence it's what kicked off 13 years of on again off again negotiations with either the P5 plus 1 or the European Union or E3, the European 3. And it has been a long time in getting to the point where we were able to address our concerns, our global concerns about the progress Iran had made up to that point 13 years ago, and more importantly, all the progress it made for the previous 13 years on the nuclear program. We have been very concerned as Matt said, since President Obama took office at the great advancements Iran's nuclear program has achieved. It currently has over 19,000 centrifuges installed. These are the devices used to separate out isotopes of uranium that can be used for either weapons or for power reactors. It has 12,000 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride in low and rich uranium status. It has a reactor that's very well-suited to produce weapons grade plutonium. It has kind of a very minimal transparency regimen that it undertakes with the IAEA. And so when we sat down several years ago to figure out what do we really need out of a deal, what would be our core objectives in this deal? We focused on four pathways and there's the number four. It's four pathways that cut off the fissile material either the highly enriched uranium or the plutonium that is at the heart of any nuclear weapon. So the thinking was always that without fissile material Iran can't have a nuclear weapon. It had then when we started this process and continues today, to have capabilities that are inherently giving it the option to produce either highly enriched uranium or plutonium. So the four pathways we identified. One, the uranium pathway through the declared enrichment facility at Natanz, it's a very large facility that is eventually slated to house about 50,000 centrifuges. It has about 13,000 installed there today. The second pathway, Fordo this is a smaller enrichment facility, Iran has two. And this is the facility that was outed to the world in the fall 2009, after Iran had covertly built it under a mountain. The reason this facility is so disturbing aside from the fact that Iran built it in secret and didn't tell the IAEA about it, although it should have, is that it's very small and is much more prone to being suitable for weapons production because of the smaller number of centrifuges than for power reactors. So we wanted to get at that. So Natanz pathway, Fordo pathway. Third pathway is the plutonium pathway. As I said, Iran has a reactor, the Arak A-R-A-K reactor that is very well suited to make plutonium just through normal operations. Plutonium doesn't exist in nature uranium does, you make plutonium by building reactors and running them and then pulling plutonium out of the fuel that comes out, the spent fuel. So that was a real concern for us because if Iran were allowed to continue with the reactor, it could develop a capability to essentially have weapons material, weapons used for materials while still abiding by its non-proliferation treaty commitments sitting there ready to go. And the fourth pathway and probably the most important pathway to cut-off is the covert pathway. And here we mean both Iran's ability to covertly produce highly enriched uranium for weapons or plutonium. It is easier probably for Iran to go for the highly enriched uranium pathway because it takes less facilities, less technology. So when we looked at what we were setting out to achieve, we cast it as four pathways. And starting in about December of 2013, right after the negotiations had concluded for the joint plan of action interim deal that set up these negotiations, we had a number of meetings in the White House situation room to essentially say, okay what are our objectives, how are we going to get there. And what resulted from that was the initial attempt at try and get this done in about six months, it failed. And the reason it failed is that the Iranians were way far from what we thought would be our core objectives. So for instance, when we wanted to close down the pathway for Natanz, Iran wasn't willing to limit its number of centrifuges to the point where we could have an acceptable what we call breakout timeline. The timeline at which if Iran chose to use its facility to make highly enriched uranium that it would take until it had enough material for a bomb. So today Iran's breakout timeline using its Natanz facility is about two to three months. If it chose to break out of its non-proliferation treaty commitments, it could have enough material for a bomb in two to three months. The president said that was unacceptable, we had to push that time back for at least a year for 10 years that was our objective. And so the way that you do that is through a combination of limiting the material you have to push through the centrifuges, the uranium, and the centrifuges themselves. The numbers, the types, the configurations, and so forth and that'll be important in a moment when I come back to this. The point is that when we started the negotiations and the reason we couldn't get it done in six months is we walked in the room and said, you know, we want you to have zero centrifuges at your facility and they said, well we never said we'd have zero centrifuges in fact, our objective is to go from about the deployed centrifuges we have now, 19,000 total in the country, to the equivalent of about 190,000 in seven years. So we were a bit far apart [laughter]. Four hundred thousand, that's another number that I haven't thrown out there, but I'm going to get to that now. That's the number of frequent flyer miles I then racked up over the next [inaudible]. It took us a very large number of sessions in a large number of European and Middle East cities to close that gap. You know, I'm using the centrifuge one because it's tangible and you can understand how we were at zero, they were at 190,000. And it just took a while for them to understand that there was just no way that that was going to happen. They had clear objectives of their own, but we simply wouldn't rest until our core objectives in cutting down those four pathways to fissile material were met. And so breakout timeline was met under this deal through a combination of greatly restricting that stockpile of low enriched uranium, which as I said they have about 12,000 kilograms of low enriched uranium now. Under the deal they're limited to 300 kilograms for the next 15 years, so about a 98 percent reduction in their stockpile. The rest of that material is going to be shipped out of the country or diluted back to natural levels which is where it started before it ran to the centrifuges. And the effect of that is that we've essentially reversed all of the enrichment work that Iran has done since it started its centrifuge program by taking away all of that material. Because breakout timelines are calculated from a number of different factors that meant we could give Iran a little bit more in terms of centrifuges, not a lot, but a little bit more. And it turned out that practically speaking having more centrifuges and less uranium was more important. So it's still nowhere close to 190,000 SWO, centrifuges. SWO is a technical term separated work unit, essentially it means how much uranium one centrifuge can push through every year. It did have 190,000 now it's down to 5,000 SWO. So we really came out ahead on that as well, but it was the combination of that, the low enriched uranium numbers, the fact that we restricted Iran to only having its first-generation centrifuges that the breakout timeline of one year was met. And so the vast facility at Natanz is going to be largely empty for the next 10 years and for 15 years Iran is going to have a breakout timeline that is still longer than it is today. And so that was one of the key objectives we had. On the Fordo facility, as I said we set out to deal with the facility that really was alarming to us because it was built in secret, because it was so small in size. Again, Iran originally said what they would be willing to do is to give us greater transparency into the [inaudible], but they didn't want to touch it. Instead what we've been able to do is get them to agree to change the facility into a scientific technical research center where about two thirds of the infrastructure is going to come out of it, all but about four cascades are no longer going to be in there, there are currently 16 cascades. I'm sorry cascade is a string of centrifuges that runs together to actually do the enrichment work. And so we were able to satisfy the basic parameter of that pathway by getting Iran to convert the facility. You're going to see a theme here when I talk about what we got out of the deal and how we did this. We didn't try to take on the program and all of Iran's political concerns head-on by saying, you absolutely have to do X. What we did was we came up with creative solutions whereby they didn't want to shut down a facility, but we didn't actually need them to shut down the facility if we could turn it into something else and verifiably make sure that it was going to be used for the next 15 years as the case with Fordo to make material for a bomb. And so one of the reasons that we are successful in the negotiations is that we were being careful not to box them into a corner that they couldn't get out of, while still maintaining an extraordinarily hardline about meeting our core objectives. And then that follows through to our third pathway, which is the Arak reactor. There again, we said well look you really have no need for this reactor, it produces plutonium for weapons, you should get rid of it. Evidently one of their core objectives was being able to say that they didn't get rid of facilities. So the solution was that we would convert the reactor and initially they said, well we'll just make a few little tweaks, a few little changes and that'll be okay. We worked exceptionally hard with technical specialists from the Department of Energy, including Argonne National Laboratory, which is, you know, right around here to work to figure out reactor configurations that wouldn't produce weapons grade plutonium that met our needs, but also allowed them to continue to say that they had a reactor as a [inaudible] saving mechanism. And ultimately what we were able to do was to convince them to pull the core of that reactor out, it's called a calandria, but basically it's the center that allows the reactor to operate. And so under the deal they have to take out the center of the reactor, they have to fill that with concrete because again, they didn't want to destroy it. So we said, okay don't destroy it fill it with concrete, which is destroying it, but it's different. So again, you get the theme here, we didn't necessarily say we have to attack the problem head on right away in all instances, we worked until we found solutions that we could live with and that they could live with that met our core objectives. And in this case, our core objective, the core of the Arak reactor, we met by saying, okay well let's agree on a design that our Department of Energy specialists say will not produce weapons grade plutonium zero. So you go from a reactor that produces one to two weapons worth of weapons grade plutonium every year that it operates to zero weapons grade plutonium in a normal use. But we went further than that, we said well what happens if Iran misuses the reactor and we came up with the worst case misuse scenarios and essentially pushed down the design to the point where it is incredibly difficult for them to misuse the reactor and doing so would be alerting and understood by the IAEA within a matter of days to weeks. And so ultimately I got them to agree to a design that is a [inaudible] design, it's pretty well spelled out in the joint comprehensive plan of action. But most importantly, we also have maintained the ability to sign off on the design ourselves to make sure they don't have design changes as it goes. And we'll be working with other P5 plus 1 countries in actually making the reactor to something that no longer has our concern. In addition to that, the plutonium pathway was addressed by Iran committing that all the spent fuel, the material that comes out of the reactor after it runs, which is where the plutonium sits, has to be shipped out of the country for the lifetime of that reactor. And even beyond that, we got Iran to agree that it could not build a facility that can take the plutonium out of the spent fuel, something called a reprocessing facility. So that means that even if they wanted to build the different reactor and either overtly or covertly, they wouldn't have the physical capabilities to get plutonium out. So those are all the ways we shut down that third pathway, the plutonium pathway. The pathway that I was most worried about personally as part of this deal was the covert pathway. You don't know what you don't know and we are incredibly blessed by having intelligence services that are able to tell us a lot about what others countries are doing, but we're never going to know everything and we are always going to have questions about whether Iran, particularly given its sordid past on nuclear activities, is complying with its obligation to never pursue nuclear weapons. And as I said, Iran has taken a very conservative approach in terms of its working with the IAEA on providing transparency to its declared program. More worrisome Iran currently doesn't abide by what's called the additional protocol. The normal safeguards agreement that a country has with the IAEA looks at declared facilities is material where the country says it is, are the facilities being used for only declared purposes, that kind of thing. The additional protocol gives the IAEA more information and access rights to go looking for: cover facilities elsewhere in the country. A very large number of countries that signed up to the NPT, I think it's 140 have an additional protocol agreement with the IAEA, Iran refused to do it. And that meant that the IAEA has been inherently limited in terms of its ability to go out and look for covert facilities. And so as a very core level basis of transparency to get at the covert path, we insisted that Iran agree to abide by the additional protocol. And Iran has agreed that on implementation day, which we will get to in questions later, they're going to provisionally apply the additional protocol, which legally means that they're always now forever going to be obligated to follow that and provide the IAEA additional information and access so that the IAEA has a baseline ability to investigate allegations of covert facilities and follow it up with request for access to facilities. But fundamentally, our strategy for addressing the covert pathway was to develop a multilayer approach that did two things. One was to increase the odds that Iran would get caught if it tried to produce highly enriched uranium or plutonium for weapons at a covert facility and two, that it would deter Iran from trying because Iran would understand that the likelihood of success was so low that it wasn't worth the risk. And so what we did, again as we did with the additional protocol as the base, was we looked at what wasn't covered by normal transparency that the IAEA has on a lot of countries and specifically, on Iran. And right now if you wanted to make highly enriched uranium for a weapon, you need to get the uranium in raw form, which means you either need to import it from another country or you need to dig it out of the ground in the country that you're living in. And Iran has two uranium mines neither of which is monitored by the IAEA and uranium mills which take the uranium or crush it up, chemically separate it and make it into yellowcake, which you may remember from Iraq war days. Yellowcake then isn't actually accounted for under the IAEA system until it goes to the next facility in the process to get the highly enriched uranium. And so what we attempted to do was go cradle to grave. And said okay, it's great that the IAEA has an ability to monitor uranium at the natural level as it gets converted, when it goes through the enrichment process, that's great. But what's to prevent Iran from taking uranium that it mines out of the ground and just taking it to a completely separate covert pathway. So what we were able to negotiate with Iran is that for the next 25 years they have to allow the IAEA continuous monitoring at the place where they make the yellowcake. So essentially we are preventing them from using known uranium mines to allow them a source material for a covert pathway and this is unprecedented. The IAEA doesn't do this anywhere else in the world. The fact that we got this for 25 years means that now Iran would need to have a covert uranium mine, a covert uranium mill, a conversion facility to make the uranium into the chemical form that spins in centrifuges, a covert uranium enrichment facility, and then a covert conversion facility to get it back into the form that you can put into weapons in addition to all the weapons work. And so we are forcing Iran through this deal to develop a whole separate system that it needs to plan, build, furnish, and have people work in over a pretty substantial period of time. And then we went one step further and we said, you know, Iran currently build centrifuges at some places that the IAEA has some knowledge of, but doesn't have the ability to monitor. So let's give them the ability to monitor that. And so now for the next 20 years IAEA is going to be watching every centrifuge that comes off the production line in Iran's facilities and then that way we also force Iran if it were to go down the covert path to develop yet another whole infrastructure to make centrifuges, it just can't siphon them off when the IAEA visits on a Tuesday and siphons them on a Thursday. Because the IAEA is going to have a permanent presence there through either inspectors, through cameras, through remote monitoring, that allows them to know whether or not Iran has done these things. And then we thought well what else can we do to really further augment this and so we applied something else that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world and that's what we've essentially termed the procurement channel. And in essence what this means is that Iran has to tell us whether or not it's buying something for the nuclear program from overseas. And if it does, it has to get the permission of the P5 plus 1, the participants to the joint comprehensive plan of action, before it imports those materials. And we can say, no if you don't really have a need for an additional 82 vacuum pumps you've already got plenty for instance. And then we wrote into the joint comprehensive plan of action that Iran would also need to allow either the IAEA or the exporting country to come in and check and make sure that the equipment actually went where Iran said it went. So that there again it's not being diverted to a cover site. Part of the real value of the procurement channel though is if we through our national technical means or other countries' intelligence services ever find things that Iran should have declared that it was buying fine for a nuclear program out there outside the procurement channel, it's potentially an indication of a covert program. So when I talk about all the different ways that we tried to augment our ability to detect and our ability to deter a covert program, it was through very careful thinking about what we need. Bottom line is that what we were able to do in the interim, the framework agreement that we got them to sign in April, was we were able to effectively shut down the four pathways to prevent [inaudible] a nuclear weapon. In July in Vienna not only were we able to make those commitments into 159 page document that's extraordinary technical and detailed, we were also able to get Iran to make further commitments and these are commitments that have to do with actual weaponization activities. So they've agreed to never produce nuclear weapons. They've also agreed not to undertake those specific weapons activities that you need to do in addition to the uranium and plutonium side that would allow them to build up the expertise to actually have those weapons and some of those last indefinitely. Another one that's very important is Iran is committed for the next 15 years not to undertake uranium metallurgy. You know, this is the science of actually taking uranium putting it into metal form, which is necessary to have a component for a weapon and there are a few reasons you can go into uranium metallurgy. Some is for say depleted uranium armor or for certain types of nuclear fuel. But Iran has agreed that it's not going to investigate that science at all. Without developing that expertise that by itself prevents Iran from having a nuclear weapon for 15 years. And that's another one of those things that we added in just to try and make it harder and hard for Iran to pursue nuclear weapons. So I'm certain that you have many, many questions. I definitely want to provide time for that. I also just want to say very quickly what we gave for this all right and that's sanctions relief. And there's been a lot of questions and concerns about why is Iran getting so much money and the answer is that this was always going to be part of the deal. The reason that we were able to sit in the room with the Iranians and secure all of these great concessions is that Iran had a lot of reasons to want to get that relief, their economy has been faltering, they have over $50 billion in assets overseas that were being held up because of the sanctions that the United States and our partners applied and that was the reason that we got them to finally negotiate such a good deal. Inherently that meant that they were going to get some money back. However, they're not getting that money until they undertake the nuclear steps that we talked about here. So all the things that I said they have to do except actually rebuilding the Iraq reactor, they have to take the calandria out and fill it with concrete, all that has to be done before they get their sanctions relief. And so fundamentally that's the deal. It's our focusing on the most pressing nuclear threat, the Iranian program that had become more and more advanced and our building up international consensus and the sanctions that applied pressure to get the leverage we needed to secure the concessions to shut down the four pathways. And that's the basics of the deal that are kind of high level. I'm happy to take whatever questions that you have about the deal self, about shortcomings or questions or maybe what you've heard in the press about the deal. So why don't we return.
>> Why not.
>> So before we go.
>> To questions. Let me just sort of bring it full circle. So since this was announced as I said at the beginning, we've been engaged in this extensive debate. It's a debate that we welcome frankly because it's where we are, you know, persuaded that this is a good deal, this is a deal that's defensible on its facts. And so we have been doing a lot of work to get information out to members of Congress and to the public. We have a Twitter page at the Iran deal that we're posting all kinds of information. Most recently, Secretary Moniz did a four and a half or so minute video where he explained some of the science behind the nuclear deal. I suspect if you looked at that right now you would see tweets about Secretary Kerry because he's speaking right now or just finished speaking at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. We have the Whitehouse.gov website backslash Iran deal where you can get a whole bunch of information, including the packet that we set up to Congress during the congressional recess that has all of our fact sheets, explanations and graphics that explain the deal. So we have been in an intense effort to get these facts out and to encourage people really to look at the facts before they make up their minds and not to sort of buy into arguments that are, you know, red herrings because they don't reflect what's actually in the deal. So you know, we have as I said earlier, you know, persuaded numbers of senators, members of the house to support the deal, but if you look broadly in the, you know, engaged community, you know, you have validators that include, you know, former military officials, former Secretary of States, former national security advisors, including Brent Scowcroft, former members of Congress, former Jewish former members of Congress, Jewish community leaders, rabbis, faith leaders. You know, the list goes on and then security experts, security experts in the US, nuclear scientists in the US, and Israeli security experts also have come out--many have out in support of the deal. And obviously, the criticism of the deal that has been put forward by the Prime Minister of Israel is something that, you know, someone may want to ask about, but you know, we are very conscious of and sympathetic to the fact that there are folks that have strong feelings about this deal and are concerned about Israel's security, so are we. You know, the president has said time and again that Israel's security is sacrosanct and we can talk about how this deal affects them and what the path forward looks like. So with that I think I will stop and let Professor Ciorciari turn it over to the questions because we really want to hear from you.
>> Thank you both very much, I've got lots of good and well-informed questions here. So that we achieve a good flow and get a representative sample, I'm going to take them in the following order. We've got a number of questions about monitoring and inspection aspects of the deal. We got a bunch of questions about compliance and sanctions. We have some about relations with Israel and regional implications of the deal. We also have some about US and Iranian domestic politics. So let's start with monitoring and inspection. A number of people have asked about the so-called 24 day period. The idea being that if Iran objects to inspection of an undeclared site that there goes through a dispute resolution process that could take up to 24 days and the question is isn't 24 days lots of time for Iran to hide some sort of nefarious activity?
>> No [laughter]. The answer is I was flabbergasted frankly when we got back after seven weeks, our most recent seven weeks in Vienna, and found that this was a criticism of the deal and let me explain why. We just went through the additional protocol and what most countries do in terms of interact with IAEA when it comes to suspect site. And the way it works is the IAEA if it gets information that a country is engaged in an undeclared activity at a covert site, it can request access to that site if it gives 24 hours' notice to a facility or to a country. But it stops there, there's no bookend to that right. There's nothing that says that the IAEA gets the access. So the additional protocol has a bit of a shortcoming in the sense that that can literally go on for weeks, for months, for years and in the Iranians' specific case, it has. You know, these three different examples where it stretched on for months and months and at a facility I'm sure that we're going to get a question about, the Parchin facility, it's gone on for about three and a half years. And so our primary objective when it came to addressing that shortcoming that was demonstrably a shortcoming in the case between Iran and the IAEA was to bookend the process to say, okay this can't drag on forever and ever. And so what we did was we set up a circumstance where we said, okay we have to make sure that the IAEA gets the access it wants to a covert site or a potential suspect site in a short amount of time or sanctions will snap back and Iran will have to choose essentially which of those things to happen. And of course, Iran wanted months and months of delay and we wanted only a few days. And so ultimately what 24 days does is it says that Iran gets a request from the IAEA to access a site. The Iranians and the IAEA can talk about it for up to two weeks, 14 days. If they can't come to a resolution in that time period, then it goes to the joint commission. The joint commission is one representative from each of the members of the joint comprehensive plan of action. So P5 plus 1, European Union, and Iran. And then that group has a maximum of seven days to essentially rule on the matter and it was set up in such a way that it's majority vote, which means that Iran can't veto, China can't veto, Russian can't veto, and the three of them together can't veto. And so we essentially have a situation where if the Iranians refuse to give access to the IAEA within two weeks of the IAEA's original request, then we can vote in the joint commission that Iran has to provide that access or will be in noncompliance with the joint comprehensive plan of action and sanctions can snap back. So we're talking now about a total of 21 days. The three days in the delta there are that Iran then has to actually provide that access in three days, so that's how you get the 24. Let me again say when we looked at this we didn't look at this from the perspective of having the IAEA be able to go into a facility and determine that Iran was in compliance with every little aspect of the joint comprehensive plan of action. So for instance, if you look through the details there's computer modeling, Iran is not allowed to undertake computer modeling for nuclear weapons work. We're not asserting and never have that, you know, Iran couldn't clean a site of computer models in 24 days, but what they can't clean in 24 days is evidence of radioactive material. And this has been validated by the Department of Energy that it takes many months for a site to be fully cleansed of nuclear material. And not just Iran knows that and the reason we know Iran knows that is that Iran tried to sanitize a site in Tehran back in and around 2003, and it thought that it got rid of all the evidence of uranium, it took them six months. The IAEA came in, they found evidence that Iran had been working with uranium there in violation of its commitments and just lying to the IAEA about it. And since then the Iranians have been extraordinarily paranoid about the ability for the IAEA to conduct environmental sampling because they know the IAEA is good at this. The second example as I said, is the Parchin example where for three and a half years the IAEA believes that Iran has been sanitizing that site and Iran still won't let the IAEA in and it hasn't for the last three and a half years. So 24 days is enough time to hide computer models, but then again so is 24 hours and frankly 24 minutes. So we were not trying to accomplish everything what we were trying to get was a dramatically reduced amount of time that the Iranians could stonewall the IAEA and an amount of time would not allow Iran to sanitize the sites. And if you don't have nuclear material, which you know you don't have a nuclear weapon, and so as I mentioned before, the five or six facilities you need to actually process uranium through the different stages all will be required to get [inaudible] nuclear weapon, then all of those sites you find evidence of nuclear contamination within 24 days. So that's why 24 days is a terrific advance. The IAEA doesn't get this anywhere else in the world, never has and it's absolutely sufficient for the IAEA to be able to detect nuclear material.
>> And it's also important to note that Paul's talking about the undeclared facilities. For the declared facilities there's continual monitoring, you know, 24 7. So the new nuclear facilities like Arak, I mean the ones that Paul mentioned are subjected to continuous monitoring. So this is only for those sites that are undeclared that could be potentially employed for the covert [inaudible]. So it's a very important distinction to bear in mind.
>> Okay let's talk about Parchin because a number--I've got three questions here specifically about the Parchin facility. As the audience may not know, access to military facilities was a real sticking point in negotiations. The Iranian foreign minister said recently Iran could refuse inspections of military facilities, that's not in the deal but he stated it. [Inaudible] has called it redline and there have been reports that the IAEA is working with Iranians who were taking soil samples at Parchin, one of these military facilities. There's reportedly an agreement or there is an agreement between the IAEA and Iran, Chief Negotiator, Wendy Sherman, saw it and briefed Congress, but we don't have a public account of what's in this agreement. How do we know that the Iranians aren't being entrusted with monitoring their own facilities which no one would have good could cause to trust?
>> Sure, so there's a couple things. First as Matt just noted, the IAEA is responsible for monitoring Iran's declared facilities. The IAEA is going to enact what it does everywhere else around the world for potential covert facilities that it has questions about in the future. What we're talking about is not military facilities plural, it's one site, it's the Parchin site. And the Parchin site is part of the IAEA's overall concerns about weapons activities which allegedly were undertaken between 1999 and 2003, and formed the basis of what is known as PMD or the possible military dimensions [inaudible] program. As part of the joint comprehensive plan of action, we were able to get Iran to finally agree to address concerns about PMD with the IAEA, they've been stonewalling the IAEA for about 10 years and the IAEA just wasn't making progress. And Parchin, this one specific location, was one of the sites that the IAEA has wanted to go to and one of the sites that IAEA has strong reason to believe has been sanitized over time. What is important to us is that the IAEA gets appropriate access to the site so that Iran can't simply thumb its nose at international community at the IAEA and get away with it. The US government as Secretary Kerry has said, has a very good amount of knowledge about the weapons work that was conducted in 1999 to 2003. We don't think that whatever the IAEA at Parchin is going to be revelatory to us, revelatory to the IAEA and in no small part because Iran has just tried to spend the last three and a half years sanitizing this site. But what is important is the principle that when IAEA says they'd like to go someplace they get to go. They're the international organization that monitors compliance with nuclear agreements. Now when it comes to what specifically the IAEA is going to do at the Parchin site. As you noted, it is not specifically part of the joint conference plan of action and the reason for that is Iran and the IAEA have been talking for the last 10 years about PMD and they have their own separate process which was stalled, which we now were able to kick into action because of the joint conference plan of action. Iran and the IAEA have worked out a roadmap which is public that talks about commitments that the Iranians have to make to provide information and access before certain dates. If Iran doesn't meet those objectives and those dates, then the joint conference plan of action will not be implemented and Iran doesn't get any sanctions relief. Now when it comes to the specifics about how Parchin is going to be visited that is in a confidential agreement between Iran and the IAEA and that's something that we're not allowed to discuss, we're not allowed to talk about, the IAEA isn't allowed to publish, and this is standard for the way IAEA does relationships with countries that it interacts with. Safeguards confidential is what the IAEA calls is essentially the IAEA's version of classified and it relies on that to make interactions with countries that it monitors feasible. And so as an extraordinary step the IAEA permitted the lead negotiator, Wendy Sherman, and several of her experts to read through what was envisioned for that facility. And what I can say is the IAEA will get appropriate access to that site. We have also briefed members of Congress on everything that we were told by the IAEA about that. The Department of energy has also independently looked at how the IAEA plans to implement its agreement with the Iranians on the Parchin site and believes that it has technical credibility and veracity. What I can say is that the--without going into the details which I can't reveal, the reality is not what you see in the press. We're not talking about just letting the Iranians self-inspect, it's much more complicated and much more rigorous than that. So the IAEA which we're trusting to do what it does every day all around the world, has technical expertise in doing environmental sampling and we're confident in their abilities to be able to execute this mission as well.
>> Yeah, I mean it's important to emphasize that that these protocols that have been set up, these structures, they're not only, you know, routed in policy, they're routed in science. And one of the very important developments or additive, components of the negotiations was the extensive involvement of the energy secretary, Secretary Moniz, who was at the table with his Iranian counterpart for extensive periods of time to ensure that all of these arrangements were firmly grounded in science and, you know, fulfilled. You know, this energy department was a custodian of America's Nuclear Program and has a responsibility there to protect it and also brought that expertise to bear to this deal.
>> Let me add a few questions on the IAEA because as you mentioned, we're trusting the IAEA and a couple of our audience members asked a question, how do we know that that's a trustworthy organization for this very important function. And one of the questioners said well North Korea and [inaudible] the IAEA inspectors the runaround, how do we know that the IAEA is up to this job?
>> Sure, so we work closely with the IAEA, IAEA inspectors are trained in the United States with our Department of Energy National Laboratories. We help to develop technologies that the IAEA uses every day. One of the things that I didn't get to in the discussion, there's a very novel technology that has been developed at the Department of Energy to monitor the level of enrichment that's going through the centrifuges and the cascades every 20 seconds. This is going to be deployed for the first time in the world in Iran and it was developed by our Department of Energy National Laboratories for use by the IAEA. One of my close friends and colleagues who is on the negotiating team with me is the head of the department inside the Department of Energy that interacts with the IAEA. We have great confidence in the IAEA's ability to do its dual mission, which is to monitor known facilities and to investigate allegations of covert facilities. The declared facilities Iran has or the IAEA has a fantastic track record of being able to determine if countries are misusing them or are diverting material. On the covert side, the additional protocol has had a lot of success at being able to allow greater confidence that countries are not pursuing nuclear weapons and in so doing, deterring those. But what has to be noted is that the IAEA also uses member state information. So the IAEA is not just going to be doing this on its own, the IAEA will be getting advice and sometimes information from countries around the world that want to steer them toward places of concern. And so the IAEA is out front, it's the international body that is charged with executing monitoring around the world, but it is also an international; organization that is actively developed and actively nurtured by the rest of the members of the of the international community to include the United States. So for instance, the Board of Governors of the IAEA, the United States is a permanent member of that, it's 15 members that rotate and they will actively engage in overseeing the IAEA's role, not just on implementing the joint comprehensive plan of action, but on Iran's overall commitments to abide by the non-proliferation treaty, additional protocol, and everything that Iran does. So we're not just handing this over to the IAEA, we're going to be working with the IAEA to make sure that they understand the parameters of the joint comprehensive plan of action and to making sure that they have the resources and the technical expertise that they need to be able to execute permissions the missions we've entrusted to them.
>> Okay, thanks and now I want to turn to the sanctions. What happens if Iran cheats? Clearly, the agreement is written in a way that suggests that the US and others are very concerned about that possibility and certainly that possibility has manifested itself in the past with Iran. The snapback provision you mentioned, just for our audience's benefit, this is a provision in the deal and in the Security Council resolution that followed whereby if the US or if others complained that Iran was cheating that sanctions would snap back or go back into place unless the Security Council passed a resolution to keep them lifted. That means, in theory, not only would that avoid a Chinese or a Russian veto, but the United States could veto a resolution to keep sanctions lifted. The question and a couple of cards note the question is, is this re-imposition of sanctions usable? Once Iran opens up to trade with Russia and China, France, Germany, and many others they sign contracts there, they have a lot of valuable trade and investments, they're not going to be happy to have the United States pushing them to try to re-impose sanctions on Iran at a time when they're making money. Is this really a usable tool and a threat against Iran, if indeed Iran cheats on the deal?
>> Yes it is and again, I'm glad to explain the snapback mechanism. I would just note off the top that this is absolutely unprecedented. It's never happened before that we were able to essentially secure Russian Chinese commitment, in addition to the European commitment to not stand in our way if we wanted to for any reason that we thought was a violation of the joint comprehensive plan of action, snap back not just our unilateral sanctions which we could do obviously at any moment and I'm quite sure Congress would help us. But to snap back the architecture of the UN Security Council resolutions and this is, as I said, set unprecedented because we wanted to make sure that the threat of consequence is real and we didn't want to give the appearance that, you know, a Russia or a China or somebody else either acting to help Iran or to help its own interest, would be able to block the very real threat of all the re-imposition. One of the things that I was very impressed by throughout the negotiations was the ability of the P5 plus 1 to stay unified and the reason for that is that nobody wanted Iran to have a nuclear weapon. So the Chinese suffered financially under the sanctions regime for a number of years because they restricted the amount of oil that they were purchasing from Iran as did a number of our other allies, all to show solidarity to build the leverage that we needed. And there were a great number of sacrifices by a lot of our international partners for the greater non-proliferation objective that we are trying to meet. And so as we go forward, we do think that if there were a violation of the joint comprehensive plan of action, say for instance we found another facility like Fordo, that our partners would be right there with us in reapplying the sanctions. Even if they weren't we can do unilaterally. This specific question of whether other countries would live up to their responsibilities, we feel they would. This is UN Security Council mandated and these countries have a strong track record of complying with UN Security Council. The one actor here obviously who hasn't done that is Iran. Iran chooses whether or not it's going to find resolutions legal in the Security Council context, but the rest of our partners have been very strong even when it comes to great financial harm to themselves to abide by Security Council commitments, specifically because they understand the value of the non-proliferation objective.
>> And just sort of another big picture points to emphasize if you're sitting there saying, just wait a minute Iran is getting all this sanctions relief, what about all the, you know, bad stuff it does in the region. We acknowledge, you know, that Iran engages in those activities and we oppose them, we condemn. We also have a deal that deals with the nuclear issue only, you know one of the underpinnings of this agreement was that the decision was made to address the nuclear threat because that is indeed an existential threat, one that had, you know, incredible implications for security in the region and for the entire world. So other issues regarding Iran's support for terrorism, etcetera were not brought into these negotiations purposefully. At the same time the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran for its role in those activities remain in place and are unaffected by the sanctions relief that applies only to the nuclear related sanction.
>> And just to follow up on that one more is that there's been I think some misunderstanding in the press about how much money Iran is going to get out of this deal. And there have been numbers floated about $150 billion, it's not true. Iran is going to have a little over $50 billion in assets that it could bring back in the country to use to rebuild an economy that's $500 billion in the hole. So it's not as if, you know, they're going to get all this money and immediately it's going to go to Hezbollah. They have a tremendous job to try and rebuild infrastructure, to try and rebuild investment, and they have a tremendous pent up anxiety from a populace that desperately wants the economy to get moving again. The other thing that I would note is that not happily the fact is Iran has been able to project force and to support terrorist proxies in the region despite being under sanctions for all these years. And so it's not as if the amount of money that's going to go back or some subset which we cannot preclude would go to terrorist actions we're supporting terrorism, it's not as if it's absolutely necessary for Iran to be engaging in those activities in the first place.
>> One of our questioners wants to push you, as do I, on this question of how usable the sanctions are and the question is this, Iran has made clear that it regards any re-imposition of sanctions in whole or in part as basically voiding its obligations under the deal and so some have called this the Iranian poison pill. That if sanctions are reintroduced that Iran pulls out, clearly something that the administration doesn't want Iran to do. Doesn't this leave open the possibility that Iran will just use salami tactics and little violations, cheat a little, cheat a little, but prevent things from reaching a stage at which sanctions are re-imposed.
>> Sure, there's always a possibility, but again we have tremendous leverage here in terms of our response to any potential violations because we have the threat of always, you know, excuse the pun, going nuclear. You know, we have the ability to snap back all sanctions at the UN, as well as unilateral. That means that if Iran for instance, went to 305 kilograms instead of 300 kilograms, you know, in one month in enriched uranium limit that we have the ability to get them back into compliance very quickly because they know that we could do something much more extreme as do our partners. And so we look for ways to address what will inevitably be small violations around the edges, whether intentional or not and my guess is because this is such a technically complicate deal that there are going to be periods of ambiguity. And so we're going to address issues whether they're salami slicing as you imply to see how much Iran can get away with or just actual oversight of, you know, an Iranian technician that didn't realize he was doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing. We've a mechanism to address that. The joint commission is going to meet on a regular basis, as is the case with a lot of arms control agreements, to deal with concerns. And what I would point to is the agreements that we had with the Soviet Union for many years function the same way. Where you had groups that would talk about potential violations, figure out ways to get back into compliance and enable the agreement to move forward without everything blowing up. The last thing I'd say is that this is all voluntary.
>> There's nothing to prevent Iran from saying, you know, we just decided that we're not going to do this anymore, but then again there's nothing to prevent us from saying that either. And we specifically crafted the deal in such a way that we can at any moment go right back to all the pressure that we have applied on them for the last number of years that brought them to the table and they know that and that's why they're going to comply with this. Because ultimately, we gave ourselves the maximum amount of leverage to bring a maximum amount of pain right back to them if they don't comply with the deal.
>> Okay the other question that's come up in a number of my cards is the question of what happens after the 10 to 15 year period when certain of the UN Security Council and the terms of the deal are no longer in force. Are we betting on Iran being a more responsible player at that point, is there any way that we would be able to assure the Iran wouldn't simply turn the key and restart the nuclear program after having enriched itself with more trade and investment for these 10 or 15 years?
>> Sure, so you've probably heard Secretary Kerry say on a number of occasions, there is no sunset, it's not like there's a time at which everything we negotiate just goes away. And what we mean by that is Iran is committed forever not to develop nuclear weapons. Some of the commitments that we negotiated do end, some of the most important ones don't end. So the commitment to never develop nuclear weapons, the commitment to never develop the technologies you need to actually build the weapons themselves, the high explosive systems, the new front initiator systems, all the actual widgetry that's involved in the weapon, is something that Iran has agreed indefinitely not to undertake. Beyond that, the additional protocol which will now put Iran back into the norm with other countries that are signed up to the non-proliferation treaty never goes away. And so what we've done with this deal is for a time bound period address some of the most glaring problems, specifically the Fordo facility, the centrifuge infrastructure that's being built up in Natanz while we have permanently dealt with other. So for instance, the Arak reactor is a permanent fix. The lack of transparency, the basic level, the additional protocol is a permanent fix. The agreement from the Iranians to never develop nuclear weapons is a permanent fix. And then in the middle you have certain things that get you far beyond 10 or 15 years. So for instance, the transparency mechanisms on monitoring all centrifuges in the country and we're talking about every centrifuge that comes off the line has to be individually numbered and checked, that's for 20 years. The fact that Iran can't siphon off uranium to go to a covert facility, that's for 25 years. These are unprecedented things. And so while I absolutely concur that there are limitations, this is the nature of any agreement. We were never going to have an agreement were Iran just foreswears ever to do anything in a nuclear program, but what will happen in the meantime is that the IAEA now because it is empowered with the additional protocol, will try to reach what's called a broader conclusion. The broader conclusion embedded in the additional protocol essentially is what the IAEA attempts to reach that says that Iran has no undeclared nuclear activities or facilities. And so once the IAEA makes that determination whether it's overt or cover that everything's wrapped up in the broader conclusion. Once the IAEA has reached that conclusion, we can all sleep a little bit better. We're still going to be guarded, we're still always going to treat the Iranians with suspicion, we're not letting them off the hook. But we are going to allow the IAEA 10 15 years if necessary to reach that broader conclusion, which it can't currently do and couldn't do without the JPOA.
>> Right and if folks are concerned about what could happen in year 15 without the deal, all of that would happen in year one right. I mean this is a deal to which Iran has agreed from zero up, it's not as though we had a 30 year, you know, prohibition on enrichment that's cut down to 15. Remember these are all additive provisions as part of this voluntary agreement that gets Iran to commit to do all the things that it's doing. And one of the, you know, very important points that we've made is that the commitment by Iran to not develop a nuclear weapon is not a 15 year commitment, it's a permanent commitment.
>> We've got a couple questions that have come in from Twitter that you've already begun to address, which is the question of how this plays out regionally. A couple asked from Twitter, variance of the following, overall this deal gives Iran added resources or strengthens Iran in certain respects in the Middle East. What is the administration prepared to do to deal with the trouble that Iran could stir up in Yemen, in Syria, in Lebanon and elsewhere?
>> Well what I'd say is that Iran is already stirring up quite a bit of trouble in those places today. You know, and as we said, you know, what the deal does for them is once they complete their nuclear steps, it provides suspension of sanctions that allows for the repatriation of a certain amount of money, it's not $150 billion, it's a little over 50, which is still a large amount of money, but essentially a drop in the bucket for an economy that is suffering from a $500 billion bucket. It is really going to take a lot for them to get back to where they are. I think one of the legitimate concerns is to the extent to which this allows Iran to be viewed as less of a pariah than it is today. However, we maintain as do our partners, our extraordinary concern about Iran's actions in the region, we'll continue to counter their support to terrorist organizations and their proxies, we'll continue to counter their malign intent in Yemen. We are committed to countering the ballistic missile force that continues to grow and in general, the activities that were never part of this deal that we continue to oppose, we'll still be doing that. The deal itself takes off the table the nuclear threat and that does two things. It means that in Iran that is already projecting force in the region can't do that with a nuclear weapon and the other thing that that does is it means that we can then focus our attention for the next 15 years on addressing those other threats because we've essentially put the nuclear threat on hold.
>> A follow-up to that, somebody asked also online that Secretary Kerry made the comments that the US would double down on existing measures to deal with problems if Iran indeed causes trouble in places like we've just been discussing. Does that suggest that we're not doing enough already to counter Iranian maligned influence in certain parts of the Middle East?
>> No, I mean we're clearly working every day to counter Iranian efforts to destabilize the region, to support the activities of those that we oppose. I think that Secretary Kerry is referencing our commitment to continue to do what we're doing and then with maybe a bit of rhetorical flourish to double it. But the reality is that we're already doing a tremendous amount.
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We're already doing a tremendous amount to be able to address the issues and we'll continue to do that. We've already gone to our partners in the region and affirmed for them our strong commitments for their security, not least of which is Israel. But other gulf states that have expressed concerns about the ramifications of the deal and what we've continually said is, you know, by addressing the nuclear threat we are isolating Iran's ability to get a much more difficult problem for us to have to deal with down the road. And so we already view the success of the nuclear deal also in the context of what it does for addressing Iran's ability to project force in the region.
>> Right and I mean and, you know, we have sort of like extended ourselves with our gulf cooperation council, partners brought them to Camp David to talk about, you know, ways of upholding, strengthening regional security working with them. And, you know, the president has also made clear his willingness to discuss ways to strengthen security cooperation, retain Israel's qualitative military edge and so forth with Israel once they're willing to talk about that.
>> Okay, I want to move to a set of questions that go inside of Iran with Iranian domestic repercussions of the deal. A number of people have asked questions revolving around the issue of how this will play out in terms of reformist movements in Iran or alternatively, how hardliners could use this deal to their advantage. I'd like your comment on the ways in which you could see this deal advantaging or disadvantaging prospects for reform inside Iran.
>> Well at the macro level what I'll say is that as I noted when we sat down to figure out what we wanted out of a deal, the principal objective was always on the nuclear capabilities. This deal is not intended to try and change the internal politics of Iran. That wasn't our focus. We would note that the people in Iran that appeared most opposed to the deal are the hardliners. They probably fear some of what you eluded to, which is the potential that moderates will be able to use the deal to strengthen their own positions. But as I said, that was not a core objective of ours, we're not trying to influence Iranian politics, we're trying to deal with the reality that their breakout timeline is two to three months, that they have an almost functioning plutonium reactor. I'll say that it was very clear from the negotiators that President Rouhani very much values this deal and it's obvious why. He campaigned on a promise to bring about an end to Iran's isolation and the only way to do that was through the JPOA. And so there will clearly be some consequence of the implementation of the JPOA, but exactly what that's going to be inside Iran I wouldn't really want speculate.
>> Okay. We also have a few questions on politics in Israel and about US relations with Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu has been stoutly opposed to this deal and a couple of questioners ask, why don't we give more credence to someone who's the leader of one of our closest allies in the Middle East?
>> Well, you know, as the president has said, you know, we are steadfast in our commitment to Israel's security that's borne out by the fact that there's been closer security cooperation between the United States and Israel during this administration than any other time in history and even, you know, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama has said that. That's objectively true and, you know, our commitment to Israel's security remains. We have a difference of opinion on this deal with the prime minister, but I would note that, you know, the prime minister is the person who, you know, six years ago pushed hard for the international community to step up and address the Iran nuclear threat. So the international community stepped up, came together to address the Iranian nuclear threat, then pushed for the institution of the sanctions regime. The sanctions regime was instituted, then went to the United Nations and held up a drawing of a bomb and said, you know, this is the redline once Iran is enriching uranium about 90 percent, this needs to stop. Well, the JPOA, the interim agreement stopped that, it took care of that problem, that's off the table. But you know, then the interim agreement wasn't good enough even though it did that. So then it was like well we need to reinstitute the sanctions which were instituted in the first instance as Paul said, to address the Iranian nuclear issue. And then Prime Minister Netanyahu came to Congress and gave a speech where he talked not about, you know, specifics really of the nuclear program, but about, he talked about that, but he also, you know, upped the ante by talking about the failure of this agreement to address, you know, Iran's regional activities, Iran's terrorist activities which as we've said repeatedly, was you know, specifically not part of this negotiation in order to get this deal. So you know, for the world to come together and address the Iranian nuclear threat, which is what we were called upon to do six years ago is what we've done and so, you know, we have a disagreement now as to whether this deal goes far enough. But I would note, you know, when you really think about it, think about the criticisms and I observe this, you know, not as somebody who was at the negotiating table, but somebody who has been involved in the public dialogue and debate over this. When the deal came out, you know, a lot of the focus has been on issues outside the four corners of the deal and the criticisms of the deal are not well you didn't deal with X, well maybe you dealt with X, but it's not good enough. And there's been a succession of issues that have been raised over the past 45 days, a little bit more than 45 days, but a succession of issues. You know, first it was the 24 days we pushed back on that and then it was a grandfather clause, we said there is no grandfather clause dealing with sanctions relief, then it was secret side agreements, there are no secret side agreements. You know, so it's sort of been one issue after another and each time we've been able forcefully, effectively to come back, you know, and say, look this should not be a concern and when members of Congress have come to us, as the senators from this state have come to us and senators from other states, you know, to raise their concerns, we have spent extensive amounts of time answering their questions, including the, you know, president who spent I think three and half hours one day with members of the House of Representatives talking to them, you know, late into the evening about the deal. I mean so from the top down as I said at the beginning, we've been willing to engage because we know that the facts of this deal are on our side here.
>> We've got time here for I think a two-part final question and these are questions that concern the negotiations themselves. We had a handful of people who have asked questions about the importance of personalities on the Iranian side, how important in particular was Foreign Minister Zarif's personality, is he a visionary, is he a pragmatist? How much was contingent on that in terms of reaching the deal? And the last bundle of questions, a number of people asked the question what's something you wanted most in the deal and didn't get form the negotiations?
>> Sure, so I've done, you know, extensive travel in support of these negotiations and met with the Iranians, you know, countless times. What is striking to me is how different the tenor of the negotiations, these negotiations has been to previous negotiations that I was not as directly a part of, but heard of. In previous negotiations, the Iranians would at times just rail on and on about the travesties of the US foreign policy. They would start with just speeches and refuse to stop talking, they would just go on and on, all of these histrionics. And what was different about these negotiations is that they really were conducted in a calm professional business-like manner and I think that made lot of sense and had a lot to do with the success of the deal. I don't think it's fair to attribute that to one specific personality, but I do think that it was a unique combination of different events in the world that allowed us all to sit around a table and try to work this out. I think it was a sanctions pressure that culminated in enough leverage to get the Iranians to really agree to a deal that we could live with. I think it was Rouhani's election that brought more moderates into government and sent more moderate level negotiators, more moderate tempered negotiators to the table. So I think the personalities had a huge to do with this. I'll also say that we were blessed on our side to have great leadership, Secretary Kerry, Ambassador Sherman, Secretary Moniz who was as Matt said, personally involved, developed a personal connection to the head of Iran's nuclear program. As many as you probably know, Secretary Moniz, formerly the head of MIT's Physics Department, turns out that Ali Akbar Salehi went to MIT and so they bonded a little over that in initial conversations and these people are not our friends. You know, we're not suggesting that, but we are talking about a certain amount of mutual respect that could enable a dialogue that allowed us to make progress. And so when there were inevitable problems that we had to address either inside the four corners of the deal or outside, weather it was the US and the Iranians or frankly other participants in the agreement because we also had the Russians taking action in [inaudible] for instance in the middle of this. We had allegations of Chinese hacking the US, we had allegations of the US spying on the Germans. We had all of these things that were happening in the midst of this entire enterprise and frankly, I think the measured and determined personalities that at the higher levels in our respective delegations helped to keep the process on track. It was the tenacity of trying to get a deal that we could work through and live with that we thought would be hugely advantageous to the US government that compelled us to keep going back, but it was the fact that there was a reasonable room to go back to largely because of the personalities that made this happen. I think the answer to your final question, what didn't we get that we could have. We've said very publicly that, you know, everybody would like it if there were no enrichment in Iran right. It's absolutely the case. However, that wasn't in the cards and that wasn't something that was a reasonable objective for the joint comprehensive plan of action. Under the joint plan of action, we had already said that the final step, the joint comprehensive plan of action, would allow a limited constrained highly monitored enrichment program. The more important point though is that when it comes to enrichment in Iran, the horse is already out of the barn right because Iran already demonstrated by 2008, that it knew how to enrich uranium and as a result, what ended up being more important than, potentially more important, than limiting its declared capacity was being able to have confidence that it wasn't developing a covert capacity based on technology that it developed on the declared side. And so I would have loved in the negotiations to say zero enrichment, but the reality is it wasn't going to happen and more importantly, even then it wouldn't have addressed one of the fundamental concerns which was the covert side because the enrichment that they've already undertaken has allowed them to always have that capacity. So better to address the covert pathway through a number of layered steps as we discussed than to insist on zero enrichment, which as a practical matter and a political matter in Iran, wasn't going to happen.
>> Well unfortunately we are out of time. I know that there are still questions and discussions, this is an incredibly important topic. So I invite you to stay to continue the conversation just outside in our great hall. The video from today's event, including the question and answer period will be available online in the Ford School's video library tomorrow and I invite you to share that with others. I'd like to thank you all for joining us and for all of your questions. I also hope that you will join us for future policy talks. Please check out our website Fordschool.umich.edu for our calendar of events. And then to close, please join me in thanking all of our speakers. Thank you very much.
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