Retired Admiral James Stavridis rejected key talking points used by the Obama administration to sell the Iran nuclear deal in an interview Wednesday.
Admiral Stavridis, who served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander and is now Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe the deal may not catch Iranian nuclear cheating if it occurs.
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"I think the top [issue] is the verification regime, which is starting to roughly resemble Swiss cheese," Stavridis said. "You can drive a truck through some of the holes. I am very concerned about that."
Defenders of the deal, such as Secretary of State John Kerry, have insisted the deal’s verification measures are airtight.
Stavridis expressed concern over Iran’s side deal about inspections with the IAEA, which may allow Iran to take its own environmental samples from suspicious sites.
"We need to have access to it and understand it," Stavridis said about the side deal. "Reportedly, it puts Iran in the position of actually procuring samples as opposed to having them taken by the IAEA."
"The biggest problem here is the airdrop of $100 to $150 billion into their economy, which is only $350 billion to begin with," Stavridis said. "That's like the U.S. getting a $4 trillion insertion of capital. That's the teeth of the alligator you just heard about."
Obama administration officials have said that the deal’s concessions to Iran are tolerable because the only alternative is a ground war.
Stavridis dismissed this rhetoric as a false choice.
"I think the U.S. still can drive some degree of sanctions" without a deal, Stavridis said. "There are cyber options to pursue. There are clandestine options to pursue. There are Special Forces options to pursue. I reject a notion that the choice is simply between this deal and going to war."
The U.S. public is increasingly wary of the Iran nuclear deal as the congressional review period drags on. A CNN poll released Tuesday found that a majority of Americans want Congress to reject the deal.