The PJ Tatler

Hayden: 'Iranians are Far Too Close to a Nuclear Weapon'

The former director of the CIA and NSA under President George W. Bush said there is “no question” that President Obama has accepted uranium enrichment in the Iran nuclear deal, despite the administration’s protests to the contrary.

Retired Gen. Michael Hayden said on Fox News Sunday “it’s not like we had a whole lot of good choices with regard to Iran and their nuclear program.”

“I’m willing to let this deal kind of run. But let’s be honest with ourselves, all right. We have accepted Iranian uranium enrichment. There is no question about that. That’s a different red line than we used to have. I understand that. That may be a result of the facts that have changed on the ground,” he said.

Hayden stressed that despite administration claims, “it says in the agreement that we will come to an agreement with regard to their right to enrich, which is very different than the U.N. Security Council resolutions to date that says they do not have a right to enrich.”

“At the end of the day, Iran’s going to be a nuclear threshold state,” he said. “…Right now, the Iranians are far too close to a nuclear weapon. We have hit the pause button. Now we have got to negotiate hitting the delete button with them.”

The Iranians are probably demonstrating a “mix” of feeling cornered by sanctions and just playing the U.S. to buy time on their nuclear weapons program, the general said.

“It is a bad bet to bet on moderates and not moderates in another country. Rouhani is a pragmatist, though. Perhaps, not a moderate, but a pragmatist,” Hayden said. “…It might be a good judgment that Rouhani, and particularly his foreign minister Zarif, is just about the best deal we can get in terms of interlocutors within the Islamic Republic.”