As an expert on nuclear weapons issues who has served on the staff of the House Armed Services Committee and the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board, Joe Cirincione has been involved in numerous discussions about arms negotiations. He says the deal that the United States and its international partners has just negotiated with Iran is a historic achievement that deserves and needs our full effort to defend.
“Aside from the United States and Israel, there really are no major objections to this agreement,” Cirincione, the president of the Ploughshares Fund, said in a recent video interview with OurFuture.org. Plus, “there is near unanimous consensus among nuclear experts” and other arms control experts that “this is a good deal.”
Administrations since President Reagan have tried to diplomatically constrain Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, but the Obama administration is “the first to find the right combination of force and diplomacy to convince Iran to give up the capacity to develop a nuclear weapon,” he said.
Cirincione conceded that this agreement does not cure all of our problems with Iran, he said, but “it stops Iran from building the bomb” and “opens up the possibility that we can talk to Iran about cooperation to defeat ISIS, stabilizing Afghanistan, their attitude towards Israel” and other issues of concern.
The campaign against the Iran deal “is unlike anything I have ever seen,” Cirincione said. On Tuesday, Politico reported that pro-Israel groups have spent $11 million on a television ad blitz against the deal. In addition, “Capitol Hill is being flooded with ginned-up phone calls generated by firms out there getting people to call in,” Cirincione said. A Jewish organization that favors the deal, J Street, says it is putting up $5 million to help win support.
It will take the work of ordinary concerned people, armed with facts instead of fear and falsehoods, to overcome the opposition’s money advantage. This summer offers opportunities for people who want this deal to succeed to speak up at town halls and other opportunities before Congress returns to Washington in September.
“If you have political connections, now is the time to use them,” he said. “If you have given political donations to a candidate, now is the time to ask that candidate to the right thing in return. Let Congress know what you think about this deal.”