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The Iran Deal Benefits U.S. National Security
An Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals
On July 14, 2015, after two years of intense international negotiations, an agreement was announced by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia to contain Iran’s nuclear program. We, the undersigned retired military officers, support the agreement as the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
The international deal blocks the potential pathways to a nuclear bomb, provides for intrusive verification, and strengthens American national security. America and our allies, in the Middle East and around the world, will be safer when this agreement is fully implemented. It is not based on trust; the deal requires verification and tough sanctions for failure to comply.
There is no better option to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. Military action would be less effective than the deal, assuming it is fully implemented. If the Iranians cheat, our advanced technology, intelligence and the inspections will reveal it, and U.S. military options remain on the table. And if the deal is rejected by America, the Iranians could have a nuclear weapon within a year. The choice is that stark.
We agree with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who said on July 29, 2015, “[r]elieving the risk of a nuclear conflict with Iran diplomatically is superior than trying to do that militarily.”
If at some point it becomes necessary to consider military action against Iran, gathering sufficient international support for such an effort would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance. We must exhaust diplomatic options before moving to military ones.
For these reasons, for the security of our Nation, we call upon Congress and the American people to support this agreement.
GEN James “Hoss” Cartwright, U.S. Marine Corps
GEN Joseph P. Hoar, U.S. Marine Corps
GEN Merrill “Tony” McPeak, U.S. Air Force
GEN Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton, U.S. Air Force
LGEN Robert G. Gard, Jr., U.S. Army
LGEN Arlen D. Jameson, U.S. Air Force
LGEN Frank Kearney, U.S. Army
LGEN Claudia J. Kennedy, U.S. Army
LGEN Donald L. Kerrick, U.S. Army
LGEN Charles P. Otstott, U.S. Army
LGEN Norman R. Seip, U.S. Air Force
LGEN James M. Thompson, U.S. Army
VADM Kevin P. Green, U.S. Navy
VADM Lee F. Gunn, U.S. Navy
MGEN George Buskirk, US Army
MGEN Paul D. Eaton, U.S. Army
MGEN Marcelite J. Harris, U.S. Air Force
MGEN Frederick H. Lawson, U.S. Army
MGEN William L. Nash, U.S. Army
MGEN Tony Taguba, U.S. Army
RADM John Hutson, U.S. Navy
RADM Malcolm MacKinnon III, U.S. Navy
RADM Edward “Sonny” Masso, U.S. Navy
RADM Joseph Sestak, U.S. Navy
RADM Garland “Gar” P. Wright, U.S. Navy
BGEN John Adams, U.S. Air Force
BGEN Stephen A. Cheney, U.S. Marine Corps
BGEN Patricia “Pat” Foote, U.S. Army
BGEN Lawrence E. Gillespie, U.S. Army
BGEN John Johns, U.S. Army
BGEN David McGinnis, U.S. Army
BGEN Stephen Xenakis, U.S. Army
RDML James Arden “Jamie” Barnett, Jr., U.S. Navy
RDML Jay A. DeLoach, U.S. Navy
RDML Harold L. Robinson, U.S. Navy
RDML Alan Steinman, U.S. Coast Guard