CNN host Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday pushed back against Jake Sullivan, one of the architects of the Iran nuclear deal, when he claimed the deal would permanently prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
"The basic facts are that the deal is working. Iran is complying. The international community is united in holding the Iranians accountable, and the world has blocked every pathway through this deal for Iran to get to a nuclear weapon. Their nuclear program is in a box," said Sullivan, a foreign policy adviser for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign who prior to that, worked at the State Department and as then-Vice President Joe Biden's national security advisor.
"Iran is living up to its end of the bargain and that deal is stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon," Sullivan later reiterated.
President Donald Trump announced the U.S.'s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal early Tuesday afternoon, a move that unravels the signature foreign policy achievement of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and Obama-era Secretary of State John Kerry.
"This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made," Trump said. "It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will."
Blitzer pushed back against Sullivan, saying Trump would probably argue the Iran nuclear deal leaves the door open for Iran to resume its nuclear program down the road.
"It has given the Iranians hundreds of billions of dollars that they use. The State Department itself regards Iran as a the number one state sponsor of terror. What's your response that the deal did nothing to prevent Iran from engaging in what the U.S. regards as terrorism and other activities?" Blitzer asked.
Sullivan said it was "flatly untrue" to say Iran could obtain a nuclear weapon in the next 7-10 years, saying the deal "permanently bars Iran" from seeking a nuclear weapon or engaging in "weaponization activity."
"But after, let's say, 10 years, can't they resume their program to enrich uranium?" Blitzer asked.
"Well, they're currently enriching uranium at a very low level, but they can only keep 300 kilograms of their stockpile in Iran right now, which is not enough for them to produce even a fraction of one bomb's worth of weapons-grade uranium," Sullivan said. "What is true is that after 10, 15, 20 years they will be able to do more in respect to peaceful nuclear purposes, the type of nuclear energy that is used for civilian purposes."