US and Iranian negotiators meet in Lausanne for nuclear talks
US and Iranian negotiators meet in Lausanne for nuclear talks. (photo credit:REUTERS)


A group of prominent American security advisers, including five with ties to President Barack Obama’s first term, warned on Wednesday that a deal on curbing Iran’s nuclear program was at risk of failing to provide adequate safeguards.

In an open letter, the group of former US officials and foreign policy experts cautioned that an Iran nuclear deal would “fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement” unless it included a tougher line on United Nations nuclear inspections and conditions for sanctions relief.

The release of the letter, which was signed by Dennis Ross, an adviser on Iran and the Middle East in Obama’s first term, comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to fly to Vienna on Friday to join the talks.

Negotiations between Iran and six major powers are aimed at reaching an agreement under which Tehran would curtail its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

“Most of us would have preferred a stronger agreement,” the letter released by the Washington Institute said. “The agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. It will, however, reduce that infrastructure for the next 10 to 15 years.”

In addition to Ross, the letter was signed by David Petraeus, former CIA director and US commander in Iraq, Robert Einhorn, a former member of the US negotiating team with Iran, retired US General James Cartwright and Gary Samore, an Obama adviser on nuclear policy turned president of the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran.

The letter was also signed by Stephen Hadley, a national security adviser to both former President George W. Bush and his brother, Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush.

Iran is hoping to reach a deal with six world powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – in exchange for relief from international sanctions. Negotiations are widely expected to slide past a self-imposed June 30 deadline.

Any deal would face fierce opposition from Republicans who have argued the Obama administration is readying a deal that would leave Iran with a clear path to making a nuclear weapon.

Kerry, speaking to reporters on Wednesday evening, said it was too early to say if negotiators could clear the last outstanding issues.

“If they are not addressed, there will not be a deal,” he said. “We have been very clear that we are not going to negotiate in public.”

As reported by The Jerusalem Post