29 Leading U.S. Nuclear Scientists Praise 'Unprecedented' Iran Deal

In letter to Obama, scientists - among them 5 Nobel laureates - say deal can serve as 'guidepost for future nonproliferation agreements.'

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Obama speaking at American University in Washington, August 5, 2015.
Obama speaking at American University in Washington, August 5, 2015.Credit: Bloomberg

Twenty-nine top U.S. nuclear scientists - including five Nobel laureates - sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Saturday praising the nuclear deal reached between world powers and Iran in July.

According to the New York Times, the letter used the terms "innovative" and "stringent" more than half-a-dozen times, saying the deal can serve "as a guidepost for future nonproliferation agreements."

According to the letter, Iran was "only a few weeks" away from producing enough fuel for nuclear weapons before curbing its nuclear programs during the negotiations with world powers.

The New York Times noted that many of the letter's signatories have previously advised Washington on nuclear arms and arms control, and that most of them have held an equivalent of the military's top secret security clearance with regards to the design of nuclear weapons. Among them were physicist and arms control expert Richard L. Garwin, who helped design the first hydrogen bomb and Siegfried S. Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos facility in New Mexico.

The scientists also praised the section of the deal which states that inspectors must be allowed to enter any suspect facility in Iran within at most 24 days, calling it "unprecedented."

The letter also noted that the deal bans research on nuclear weapons "rather than only their manufacture," adding that contrary to criticism that Iran will be allowed to pursue nuclear arms without constraint after 10 years, the deal "includes important long-term verification procedures that last until 2040, and others that last indefinitely.”

The five Noble laureates who signed the letter were Leon N. Cooper of Brown University; Sheldon L. Glashow of Boston University; David Gross of the University of California, Santa Barbara; Burton Richter of Stanford; and Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Other notable signatories were Freeman Dyson of Princeton, Sidney Drell of Stanford and Rush D. Holt, a physicist and former member of Congress.

The U.S. Congress has until September 17 to vote on a resolution of disapproval of the Iran deal, which would eliminate Obama's ability to waive all sanctions on Iran imposed by the U.S. Congress, a key component of the agreement.

Obama has promised a veto if it is passed by the House and Senate.

On Thursday, Obama's cause suffered a blow when Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a senior Democrat, announced in a statement that he opposes the Iran deal, saying that to him, "the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great."

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