FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2017
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41 National Security Experts Urge President Trump to Withdraw
From Nuclear Deal with Iran Using the Bolton Plan
(Washington, D.C.): Today, 41 flag officers and other national security experts, many of whom
held senior positions in the nuclear weapons, arms control, nonproliferation and intelligence
fields, sent a letter to President Trump urging him to withdraw the United States from the deeply
flawed 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran (the JCPOA) using a comprehensive plan drafted by
former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
The signatories believe President Trump was exactly right during the campaign when he said the
JCPOA is one of the worst agreements ever negotiated. They believe this agreement is
dangerous because it allows Iran to continue its pursuit of nuclear weapons while the deal is in
effect, has extremely weak verification provisions, and ignores Iran’s increasingly destabilizing
behavior. Because of the risks the JCPOA poses to American and international security and the
impossibility of convincing Iran to amend the agreement, the signers believe the only option is
for the United States to withdraw and begin a new, more comprehensive approach that addresses
all of the threats posed by Iran – including its missile program and sponsorship of terrorism –
with a broad alliance that includes Israel and America’s Gulf State allies.
The signatories endorse Ambassador Bolton’s plan to implement this approach by withdrawing
from the JCPOA in coordination with America’s allies. The signers believe the Bolton plan is
the best way to reverse the damage done by the reckless concessions offered to Iran by the
Obama administration to negotiate the JCPOA and to prevent the Iranian nuclear program from
spinning out of control like North Korea’s nuclear effort has.
Some of the eminent individuals who signed the letter include:
• Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, USA (Ret.), Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for
• Ambassador C. Paul Robinson, former President and Director of Sandia National
• Ambassador Henry F. “Hank” Cooper, Former Chief U.S. Negotiator for Defense and
Space and SDI Director
• Dr. Manfred Eimer, Former Assistant Director for Verification and Intelligence, U.S.
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
• Dr. William R. Graham. Former Director of the White House Office of Science and
• Ambassador Robert G. Joseph. Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and
• Admiral James A. Lyons, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Former Commander-in Chief, Pacific Fleet
The full text of the letter is below.
September 21, 2017
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Dear President Trump:
We are writing to you as flag officers and other national security experts, many who worked in
the nuclear weapons, arms control, nonproliferation and intelligence fields, to express our strong
opposition to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or
JCPOA) and to ask that you withdraw the United States from this dangerous agreement as soon
We also call on your administration to declare to Congress next month that Iran has not been
complying with this agreement and that it is not in the national security interests of the United
We strongly supported your statements during the 2016 presidential campaign that the JCPOA
was one of the worst international agreements ever negotiated and as president that you would
either withdraw from or renegotiate this deal. Your campaign statements accurately reflected
that the JCPOA is a fraud since it allows Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program while the
agreement is in effect by permitting it to enrich uranium, operate and develop advanced uranium
centrifuges and operate a heavy-water reactor. Such limited restrictions as the deal actually
imposes on Iran’s enrichment program will expire in eight years. In addition, the JCPOA’s
inspection provisions are wholly inadequate.
We also note that a joint July 11, 2017 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from Senators
Cruz, Rubio, Cotton and Perdue outlined significant violations of the JCPOA by Iran, the most
important of which is Iran’s refusal to permit IAEA inspections of military facilities.
In addition, although the JCPOA did not require Iran to halt its belligerent and destabilizing
behavior, President Obama and Secretary Kerry repeatedly claimed it would lead to an
improvement. This has not happened. To the contrary, after the JCPOA, Iran’s behavior has
significantly worsened. Tehran stepped up its ballistic missile program and missile launches.
There was a 90% increase in Iran’s 2016-2017 military budget. Iran has increased its support to
terrorist groups and sent troops into Syria. Harassment of shipping in the Persian Gulf and Red
Sea also increased, including missiles fired at U.S. and Gulf state ships by the Houthi rebels, an
Iranian proxy in Yemen.
Moreover, in light of major advances in North Korea’s nuclear program, we are very concerned
that North Korea and Iran are actively sharing nuclear weapons technology and that Iran is
providing funding for North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. CIA Director Mike Pompeo
suggested this possibility during a September 11 Fox News interview.
We are unconvinced by doom-and-gloom predictions of the consequences of a U.S. withdrawal
from the JCPOA. The sky did not fall when you withdrew the United States from the Paris
Climate Accord. Claims that Iran will step up its nuclear program or engage in more belligerent
behavior must be considered against the backdrop of what Iran is allowed to do under the
JCPOA and its actual conduct since this “political understanding” was announced.
Some Iran deal advocates argue that the United States should remain in the JCPOA and instead
try to amend it to fix its flaws over several years. A few contend you could decertify the
agreement to Congress, but remain in the deal and then try to amend it. Since Iran has made it
clear it will not agree to changes to the JCPOA, we believe these proposals are unrealistic.
Continuing to legitimate the agreement is not conducive to its renegotiation. The day will never
come when the mullahs agree to amend the sweetheart deal they got in the JCPOA.
Ambassador John Bolton has drawn up a plan to implement a far more effective, comprehensive
and multilateral approach to address the threat from Iran. This approach includes strict new
sanctions to bar permanently the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran. He also calls for new
sanctions in response to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and efforts to destabilize the Middle
East, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Unlike the JCPOA, which was negotiated with no input from America’s allies in the Middle
East, Ambassador Bolton outlines a multilateral campaign to forge a new comprehensive
approach to the threat from Iran that includes the Gulf States and Israel to assure that their
security interests are taken into account.
We agree with Ambassador John Bolton that strong international sanctions, a tough negotiating
strategy and a decisive American president who will not engage in appeasement is the best
approach to rein in Iran’s belligerent behavior and induce it to joining negotiations on a better
As national security experts who understand the urgency of addressing the growing threat from
Iran, we urge you to implement the Bolton plan, withdraw from the dangerous Iran nuclear deal
and not certify Iranian compliance to Congress next month. It is time to move beyond President
Obama’s appeasement of Iran and to begin work on a comprehensive new approach that fully
addresses the menace that the Iranian regime increasingly poses to American and international
ATTACHMENT: “Abrogating The Iran Deal: The Way Forward” By Ambassador John
Winston Lewis Amselem
U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Minister-Counselor (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, USA (Ret.)
Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
Ambassador Henry F. Cooper
Former Chief U.S. Negotiator for Defense and Space and SDI Director
Former Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence analyst
Hudson Institute Senior Fellow and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction and Negotiations Policy
Paula A. DeSutter
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance
Joseph E. diGenova
Former U.S. Attorney District of Columbia
Jessie Jane Duff
Gunnery Sergeant USMC (Ret.)
Senior Fellow London Center for Policy Research
Dr. Manfred Eimer
Former Assistant Director for Verification and Intelligence, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament
Retired CIA officer. Former chairman of the National Intelligence Council
Former CIA analyst and Professional Staff Member, House Permanent Select Committee on
Kevin D. Freeman, National Security Investment Counsel Institute
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (Acting)
Daniel J. Gallington
Former General Counsel, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Member, U.S.
Delegation to the Nuclear & Space Talks
D. Scott George
Brigadier General, USAF (Ret.) President/CEO, IN-Cyber Vision, Inc.
Dr. William R. Graham
Former Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Science
Advisor to the President; NASA Administrator and Chairman of the General Advisory
Committee (GAC) on Arms Control and Disarmament
Larry K. Grundhauser
Brigadier General, USAF Retired
Department of Homeland Security founding staff member and former U.S. Customs and Border
George William Heiser II
Former Director for Arms Control, Reagan National Security Council Staff
Richard T. Higgins
Former Director for Strategic Planning, National Security Council
President, GeoStrategic Analysis, Former Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior for
International Energy Security
Ambassador Eric M. Javits
Former US Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament and
to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Ambassador Robert G. Joseph
Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Assistant to the
President on Arms Control and Nonproliferation; and Chairman of the ABM Treaty Standing
Morton A. Klein
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President
Dr. Charles M. Kupperman
Former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan; former Executive Director, General
Advisory Committee to the President on Arms Control and Disarmament
Herbert I. London
President, London Center for Policy Research
Robert L. Luaces
Foreign Service Officer (Ret.) Former Director, State Department Office of Multilateral Nuclear
and Security Affairs
Admiral James A. Lyons
U.S. Navy (Ret.) Former Commander-in Chief, Pacific Fleet
Lt. Gen Thomas McInerney, US Air Force (Ret.)
Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Director of the Defense Performance Review
Vice Admiral Robert R. Monroe, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Former Director, Defense Nuclear Agency
Co-Director of Government Relations, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry
Executive Director, Task Force on National and Homeland Security; Senior Staff on the
Congressional EMP Commission, Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House
Armed Services Committee, and the CIA
Editor of ConservativeHQ and consultant
Major General Edward M. Reeder
U.S. Army (Ret.)
Ambassador C. Paul Robinson
Former President and Director of Sandia National Laboratories. Head of the Nuclear Weapons
and National Security programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Chief Negotiator and Head
of the U.S. Delegation to the U.S./Soviet Union Nuclear Testing Talks
Founder and President, Gatestone Institute
Senior analyst, National Institute for Public Policy. Former Senior Director for Forces Policy
and Principal Director for Strategic Defense, Space and Verification Policy, Office of the
Secretary of Defense. Former Senior Foreign Service Officer.
Tony Shaffer, LTC (ret)
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Operations, London Center for Policy Research.
Former CIA-trained senior intelligence operative
Founder and President, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Kenneth R. Timmerman
President and CEO, Foundation for Democracy in Iran
Former Chief Counsel, Senate Intelligence Committee
General Counsel and Legislative Affairs Director, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
J. Michael Waller
Founding Editorial Board Member, NATO Defence Strategic Communications
Former Senior Advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney
ABROGATING THE IRAN DEAL: THE WAY FORWARD
By Ambassador John Bolton
The Trump Administration is required to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is
complying with the July 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — JCPOA),
and that this agreement is in the national-security interest of the United States.1 While a
comprehensive Iranian policy review is currently underway, America’s Iran policy should not be
frozen. The JCPOA is a threat to U.S. national-security interests, growing more serious by the
day. If the President decides to abrogate the JCPOA, a comprehensive plan must be developed
and executed to build domestic and international support for the new policy.
Under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, the President must certify every 90 days
(i) Iran is transparently, verifiably, and fully implementing the agreement, including all related
technical or additional agreements;
(ii) Iran has not committed a material breach with respect to the agreement or, if Iran has
committed a material breach, Iran has cured the material breach;
(iii) Iran has not taken any action, including covert activities, that could significantly advance its
nuclear weapons program; and
(iv) Suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the agreement is –
(I) appropriate and proportionate to the specific and verifiable measures taken by Iran with
respect to terminating its illicit nuclear program; and
(II) vital to the national-security interests of the United States.
U.S. leadership here is critical, especially through a diplomatic and public education effort to
explain a decision not to certify and to abrogate the JCPOA. Like any global campaign, it must
be persuasive, thorough, and accurate. Opponents, particularly those who participated in drafting
and implementing the JCPOA, will argue strongly against such a decision, contending that it is
reckless, ill-advised, and will have negative economic and security consequences.
Accordingly, we must explain the grave threat to the U.S. and our allies, particularly Israel. The
JCPOA’s vague and ambiguous wording; its manifest imbalance in Iran’s direction; Iran’s
significant violations; and its continued, indeed, increasingly, unacceptable conduct at the
strategic level internationally demonstrate convincingly that the JCPOA is not in the nationalsecurity
interests of the United States. We can bolster the case for abrogation by providing new,
declassified information on Iran’s unacceptable behavior around the world.
But as with prior Presidential decisions, such as withdrawing from the 1972 ABM Treaty, a new
“reality” will be created. We will need to assure the international community that the U.S.
decision will in fact enhance international peace and security, unlike the JCPOA, the provisions
of which shield Iran’s ongoing efforts to develop deliverable nuclear weapons. The
Administration should announce that it is abrogating the JCPOA due to significant Iranian
violations, Iran’s unacceptable international conduct more broadly, and because the JCPOA
threatens American national-security interests.
The Administration’s explanation in a “white paper” should stress the many dangerous
concessions made to reach this deal, such as allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium;
allowing Iran to operate a heavy-water reactor; and allowing Iran to operate and develop
advanced centrifuges while the JCPOA is in effect. Utterly inadequate verification and
enforcement mechanisms and Iran’s refusal to allow inspections of military sites also provide
important reasons for the Administration’s decision.
Even the previous Administration knew the JCPOA was so disadvantageous to the United States
that it feared to submit the agreement for Senate ratification. Moreover, key American allies in
the Middle East directly affected by this agreement, especially Israel and the Gulf states, did not
have their legitimate interests adequately taken into account. The explanation must also
demonstrate the linkage between Iran and North Korea.
We must also highlight Iran’s unacceptable behavior, such as its role as the world’s central
banker for international terrorism, including its directions and control over Hezbollah and its
actions in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The reasons Ronald Reagan named Iran as a state sponsor of
terrorism in 1984 remain fully applicable today.
II. Campaign Plan Components
There are four basic elements to the development and implementation of the campaign plan to
decertify and abrogate the Iran nuclear deal:
1. Early, quiet consultations with key players such as the U.K., France, Germany, Israel, and
Saudi Arabia, to tell them we are going to abrogate the deal based on outright violations and
other unacceptable Iranian behavior, and seek their input.
2. Prepare the documented strategic case for withdrawal through a detailed white paper
(including declassified intelligence as appropriate) explaining why the deal is harmful to U.S.
national interests, how Iran has violated it, and why Iran’s behavior more broadly has only
worsened since the deal was agreed.
3. A greatly expanded diplomatic campaign should immediately follow the announcement,
especially in Europe and the Middle East, and we should ensure continued emphasis on the Iran
threat as a top diplomatic and strategic priority.
4. Develop and execute Congressional and public diplomacy efforts to build domestic and
III. Execution Concepts and Tactics
1. Early, quiet consultations with key players
It is critical that a worldwide effort be initiated to inform our allies, partners, and others about
Iran’s unacceptable behavior. While this effort could well leak to the press, it is nonetheless
critical that we inform and consult with our allies and partners at the earliest possible moment,
and, where appropriate, build into our effort their concerns and suggestions.
This quiet effort will articulate the nature and details of the violations and the type of relationship
the U.S. foresees in the future, thereby laying the foundation for imposing new sanctions barring
the transfer of nuclear and missile technology or dual use technology to Iran. With Israel and
selected others, we will discuss military options. With others in the Gulf region, we can also
discuss means to address their concerns from Iran’s menacing behavior.
The advance consultations could begin with private calls by the President, followed by more
extensive discussions in capitals by senior Administration envoys. Promptly elaborating a
comprehensive tactical diplomatic plan should be a high priority.
2. Prepare the documented strategic case
The White House, coordinating all other relevant Federal agencies, must forcefully articulate the
strong case regarding U.S. national-security interests. The effort should produce a “white paper”
that will be the starting point for the diplomatic and domestic discussion of the Administration
decision to abrogate the JCPOA, and why Iran must be denied access to nuclear technology
indefinitely. The white paper should be an unclassified, written statement of the Administration’s
case, prepared faultlessly, with scrupulous attention to accuracy and candor. It should not be
limited to the inadequacies of the JCPOA as written, or Iran’s violations, but cover the entire
range of Iran’s continuing unacceptable international behavior.
Although the white paper will not be issued until the announcement of the decision to abrogate
the JCPOA, initiating work on drafting the document is the highest priority, and its completion
will dictate the timing of the abrogation announcement.
A thorough review and declassification strategy, including both U.S. and foreign intelligence in
our possession should be initiated to ensure that the public has as much information as possible
about Iranian behavior that is currently classified, consistent with protecting intelligence sources
and methods. We should be prepared to “name names” and expose the underbelly of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard business activities and how they are central to the efforts that undermine
American and allied national interests. In particular, we should consider declassifying
information related to activities such as the Iran-North Korea partnership, and how they
undermine fundamental interests of our allies and partners.
3. Greatly expanded diplomatic campaign post-announcement
The Administration, through the NSC process, should develop a tactical plan that uses all
available diplomatic tools to build support for our decision, including what actions we
recommend other countries to take. But America must provide the leadership. It will take
substantial time and effort and will require a “full court press” by U.S. embassies worldwide and
officials in Washington to drive the process forward. We should ensure that U.S. officials fully
understand the decision, and its finality, to help ensure the most positive impact with their
Our embassies worldwide should demarche their host governments with talking points (tailored
as may be necessary) and data to explain and justify abrogating JCPOA. We will need parallel
efforts at the United Nations and other appropriate multilateral organizations. Our embassies
should not limit themselves to delivering the demarche, however, but should undertake extensive
public diplomacy as well.
After explaining and justifying the decision to abrogate the deal, the next objective should be to
recreate a new counter-proliferation coalition to replace the one squandered by the previous
Administration, including our European allies, Israel, and the Gulf states. In that regard, we
should solicit suggestions for imposing new sanctions on Iran and other measures in response to
its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, sponsorship of terrorism, and generally belligerent
behavior, including its meddling in Iraq and Syria.
Russia and China obviously warrant careful attention in the post-announcement campaign. They
could be informed just prior to the public announcement as a courtesy, but should not be part of
the pre-announcement diplomatic effort described above. We should welcome their full
engagement to eliminate these threats, but we will move ahead with or without them.
Iran is not likely to seek further negotiations once the JCPOA is abrogated, but the
Administration may wish to consider rhetorically leaving that possibility open in order to
demonstrate Iran’s actual underlying intention to develop deliverable nuclear weapons, an
intention that has never flagged.
In preparation for the diplomatic campaign, the NSC interagency process should review U.S.
foreign-assistance programs as they might assist our efforts. The DNI should prepare a
comprehensive, worldwide list of companies and activities that aid Iran’s terrorist activities.
4. Develop and execute Congressional and public diplomacy efforts
The Administration should have a Capitol Hill plan to inform members of Congress already
concerned about Iran, and develop momentum for imposing broad sanctions against Iran, far
more comprehensive than the pinprick sanctions favored under prior Administrations. Strong
congressional support will be critical. We should be prepared to link Iranian behavior around the
world, including its relationship with North Korea, and its terrorist activities. And we should
demonstrate the linkage between Iranian behavior and missile proliferation as part of the overall
effort that justifies a national-security determination that U.S. interests would not be furthered
with the JCPOA.
Unilateral U.S. sanctions should be imposed outside the framework of Security Council
Resolution 2231 so that Iran’s defenders cannot water them down; multilateral sanctions from
others who support us can follow quickly.
The Administration should also encourage discussions in Congress and in public debate for
further steps that might be taken to go beyond the abrogation decision. These further steps,
advanced for discussion purposes and to stimulate debate, should collectively demonstrate our
resolve to limit Iran’s malicious activities and global adventurism. Some would relate directly to
Iran; others would protect our allies and partners more broadly from the nuclear proliferation and
terrorist threats, such as providing F-35s to Israel or THAAD resources to Japan. Other actions
• End all landing and docking rights for all Iranian aircraft and ships at key allied ports;
• End all visas for Iranians, including so called “scholarly,” student, sports, or other
• Demand payment with a set deadline on outstanding U.S. federal-court judgments against
Iran for terrorism, including 9/11;
• Announce U.S. support for the democratic Iranian opposition;
• Expedite delivery of bunker-buster bombs;
• Announce U.S. support for Kurdish national aspirations, including Kurds in Iran, Iraq,
• Provide assistance to Balochis, Khuzestan Arabs, Kurds, and others — also to internal
resistance among labor unions, students, and women’s groups;
• Actively organize opposition to Iranian political objectives in the U.N.
This effort should be the Administration’s highest diplomatic priority, commanding all necessary
time, attention, and resources. We can no longer wait to eliminate the threat posed by Iran. The
Administration’s justification of its decision will demonstrate to the world that we understand the
threat to our civilization; we must act and encourage others to meet their responsibilities as well.
1. Although this paper will refer to “the JCPOA,” the abrogation decision should also
encompass the July 14, 2015, statement by the Security Council’s five permanent members and
Germany, attached as Annex B to Security Council Resolution 2231. The JCPOA is attached as
Annex A to Resolution 2231.
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