Retired Military Leaders: Iran Nuke Deal Makes War More Likely

Former commandant of the Marine Corps says Iran growing stronger as US weakens

John Kerry
John Kerry / AP
September 3, 2015

The nuclear agreement with Iran will increase the likelihood of military conflict, according to a council of prominent retired military leaders and intelligence officials.

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affair’s (JINSA) Iran Strategy Council released a report Wednesday that contends that the United States will be in a "far worse position to prevent a nuclear Iran" after 10 to 15 years of the agreement regarding Tehran’s nuclear capacity, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"Implementing JCPOA will have significant strategic consequences for our interests and allies in the region," retired Gen. James Conway and retired Air Force Gen. Chuck Wald, who together chair the council, said in a statement.

According to the report, "the agreement increases both the probability and danger of hostilities with Iran."

The report also suggests that the deal will allow Iran to grow more militarily capable over the next decade as the United States sees an erosion of its own forces.

"The United States is in a far better position to prevent a nuclear Iran today, even by military means if necessary, than when the JCPOA sunsets," the authors say. "The strategic environment will grow much more treacherous in the next 15 years. Comparatively, Iran will be economically stronger, regionally more powerful and militarily more capable, while the United States will have a smaller, less capable fighting force, diminished credibility and fewer allies. "

On a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Conway warned that the nuclear deal will "unleash" Iran in ways that we have not yet witnessed. The billions Iran will receive in sanctions relief, he said, would allow the country to bolster its military and conduct "nefarious activity."

Indeed, the report argues that the deal will provide Iran with "the means to increase support for terrorist and insurgent proxies, aggravate sectarian conflict and trigger both nuclear and conventional proliferation cascades" in the Middle East.

Conway suggested that the finalized deal would do nothing to discourage Iran from funding terrorism or prevent Iranians from dispersing anti-American rhetoric.

"A few days after they sign the deal, they’re still chanting ‘Death to America,’" the retired general said.

Gen. Wald warned against viewing the debate surrounding the nuclear deal as a binary choice between an agreement and war, despite repeated claims by the Obama administration that the deal is an alternative to war with Iran.

Indeed, the day after the announcement of the finalized deal, President Obama told reporters, "Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation or it’s resolved through force, through war."

However, the report contends that the success of the JCPOA will "demand increased political and military engagement in the Middle East that carries significantly greater risks and costs relative to current planning assumptions."

On the day of the report’s release, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.) became the 34th senator to vote in favor of the Iran nuclear deal, indicating that Obama has fielded enough support among Senate Democrats to force through the agreement.

Published under: Iran , Iran Nuclear Deal