“THERE IS NOT A MILITARY SOLUTION TO THIS [IRAN]”
Washington DC – February 14, 2014 – Press Release – This morning, Ambassador (ret.) Peter Galbraith, Lt. General (USA ret.) Robert Gard and Laicie Heeley, the Center’s Director of Middle East and Defense Policy, joined a press call to discuss the upcoming diplomatic talks between the P5+1 and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program.
“Diplomatic negotiations are the only way to address Iran’s nuclear program,” said Amb. Galbraith. “There is no military option. Airstrikes would have to continue for months or years as the nuclear facilities can be repaired and, if we bomb, we cannot be sure we hit all the sites. If we don’t want end up with a choice between acquiescing in a nuclear capable Iran and a military action that may not actually stop Iran’s nuclear program, we need to negotiate.”
General Gard offered, “There is not a military solution to this. Continuous military strikes would be necessary to prevent the program from advancing, even if we could locate new post-attack facilities.”
Amb. Galbraith also noted, “Iran is not building a nuclear weapon because it lacks the technology, facilities or know-how – it’s not building a nuclear weapon because it has made a political decision not to do so.”
Others on the call noted the importance of this point as the public debates elements of a final deal, such as enrichment and verification.
When questioned about the Capitol Hill politics, Heeley noted the importance that no legislative document, bill or resolution, is passed because it would send a negative signal. “Few, even in the U.S., understand the difference between a non-binding resolution and bill,” said Heeley. “Any action will limit the ability of U.S. diplomats to win the best deal and will weaken the united negotiating positions of the other P5+1 countries, especially Russia and China.”
On outside-the-Beltway politics, Amb. Galbraith noted, “This is really a Washington issue. I don’t see it having much impact in swing [Senate/House] races this year. People just aren’t voting on Iran.”
Heeley provided some caution to those looking for an immediate agreement coming out of Vienna. “Diplomatic negotiations take time,” said Heeley. “We have a verifiable first-step deal and the parties are still working toward a long-term solution that will enhance regional and international security.”
The Center will continue to produce up-to-date analysis on Iran’s nuclear program on our website (www.armscontrolcenter.org) and blog (www.nukesofhazardblog.com.) All three experts are available for further media inquiries by contacting James Lewis.
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington-based non-profit think tank working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons stockpiled across the globe, increase international nonproliferation programs targeted at preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism, redirect U.S. military spending to address 21st century security threats and halt the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. www.armscontrolcenter.org