The U.S. must walk away from any nuclear deal with Iran that does not provide unfettered access to military nuclear sites requested by international inspectors, said former defense secretary William Cohen.
“Let’s verify and then trust,” Cohen told Bloomberg. “Because of the way in which the Iranians have conducted a covert program for so many years, I think it’s incumbent on Iran to earn the trust before they can say the verification regime is okay.”
“Iran has got to come forward and say this is what we agreed to in April. We’re going to now certify and solidify that, and we’re going to allow you to have inspection from time to time, but whenever necessary, on military sites or any other site that the international agency inspection would require,” he said, referring to the April framework agreement that called on Iran to provide access to all nuclear sites and supply chains.
If the Iranians renege on these terms, then “President [Barack] Obama has to simply close up shop, walk away and say we’ll stick with the sanctions that are imposed and actually try to increase them … Because, once they walk away from the negotiation, Iran is going to be free to try to continue to accelerate its nuclear program.”
His comments came as negotiations between Iran and western powers breached the self-imposed June 30 deadline, toward another artificial end-date of July 7.
A U.S. official on Tuesday meanwhile said it was “not appropriate” for negotiators to demand entry to all of Iran’s military sites, because the U.S. would never permit that kind of outside inspection of its own facilities.
Conservative analyst William Kristol expressed shock over that last comment, which was published by AFP.
“Think about that. The American official argues that Iran—a rogue regime that sponsors terror and that has lied about its nuclear program, and that is under sanctions precisely because it has proved time and again it can’t be trusted — should be held to the same standards as the U.S. Amazing,” he said.