CIA Director John Brennan said critics who claim the preliminary Iran nuclear deal essentially provides a pathway for Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb are “being wholly disingenuous.”
"I am pleasantly surprised the Iranians have agreed to so much here," Brennan said Tuesday during an appearance at Harvard's Kennedy School. "I think it is really quite surprising and quite good. The people who point to this as saying it’s insufficient and the pathway to the bomb, what they’re really saying is the deal is okay, but the sanctions relief will give Iran the money and wherewithal to [cause unrest] in the area."
Iran and major world powers reached an unprecedented agreement last week to begin steps to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions, the result of a years-long international effort to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
President Obama and several administration officials have said the deal allows for intense and even intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear facility and will ultimately ensure that the country will not obtain a nuclear weapon. But critics have argued that the preliminary agreement does not go far enough. Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, who authored an infamous letter condemning the deal even as negotiations were ongoing, swiftly spoke out against the deal. “There is no nuclear deal or framework with Iran; there is only a list of dangerous U.S. concessions that will put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons," he said in a statement last Thursday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the most vocal opponents of the negotiations with Iran, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the deal "paves Iran's path" to a nuclear bomb.
"I think this deal is a dream deal for Iran and it's a nightmare deal for the world," Netanyahu told "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd Sunday.
On Tuesday, Brennan defended the deal by pointing to the unprecedented access international inspectors will have to Iran's nuclear activities, saying there will be a "wide array of eyes and ears looking into what Iran is doing."