Intel Chairman: White House Paying 'Heavy Price' for Foot-Dragging on Iran, Syria
Rogers described the Syria talks as part of a pattern of negotiations that have left allies in the region alienated. He said the Iran talks likewise angered many U.S. allies who view the deal as too weak.
“If you don’t include your allies you’re going to create suspicion. Even if you like the deal, and I don’t, you’ve created a level of suspicion now that makes our allies wary and empowers our adversaries,” he said.
The Michigan Republican criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s secret talks with the Iranians through Oman over the past two years. He called the back-channel talks, which the Obama administration said helped make the deal possible, an “awful idea.”
He said the Iran deal failed to dismantle any of the three components of their nuclear program – missile delivery, weaponization and enrichment – while beginning to unwind sanctions.
“It can’t be much of great deal if the secretary of State says there’s nothing in the deal that says they can enrich, and the Iranians just about simultaneously say ‘the deal allows us to continue to enrich,’” Rogers said.
He said Iranian leaders are committed to buying time so that they can proceed putting the different components of their nuclear program together.
“We just gave them probably closer to a year,” Rogers said. “When you say a six month agreement, here’s the problem -- the clock hasn’t even started ticking yet.”
Several Republicans and Democrats have criticized the agreement by saying it will let Iran continue its nuclear program. Top lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee have vowed to pass legislation that would take effect if the ongoing talks fail.
Kerry testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday in an attempt to stop additional sanctions.
“We have upset a very delicate long-term strategic alliance in the Middle East for our allies,” Rogers said. “By doing this deal, you may have actually escalated the possibility that the Israelis feel like they have to do something and you have escalated the possibility that the Saudis and others believe they’re gonna have to acquire nuclear weapons in order to be a stabilizing factor against Iran.”
“So now we may have tipped off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” he added.