Daniel Coats on War & Peace
Republican Jr Senator (IN)
Nevertheless, we currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities, because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival. Our observations [are that some of North Korea's] activities are inconsistent with full denuclearization.
While we assess that sanctions on exports have been effective and largely maintained, North Korea seeks to mitigate the effects of the US-led pressure campaign through diplomatic engagement, counterpressure against the sanctions regime, and direct sanctions evasion.
Iran maintains the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East. And while we do not believe Iran is currently undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device, Iranian officials have publicly threatened to push the boundaries of JCPOA restrictions if Iran does not gain the tangible financial benefits it expected from the deal.
Its efforts to consolidate its influence in Syria and arm Hizballah have prompted Israeli airstrikes; these actions underscore our concerns about the long-term trajectory of Iranian influence in the region and the risk of conflict escalation.
Excerpts from Letter from 85 Senators to President Obama We all hope that nuclear negotiations succeed in preventing Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapons capability. For diplomacy to succeed, however, we must couple our willingness to negotiate with a united and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime. We urge you to insist on the realization of these core principles with Iran:
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "Enforcing Iran Nuke Deal," Jan. 25, 2017): More than anything else, the Iran nuclear deal must be kept because the alternative is a return to ever-heightening tensions and clamoring by hawks in both countries. From 2003 to 2014, years of unrelenting U.S. sanctions and confrontation, Iran went from 164 centrifuges to 19,000. The hostile approach generates a more expansive, less transparent Iranian nuclear program and increases the chances for another disastrous U.S. war in the Middle East. Let's hope the Trump administration chooses not to go that route.
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