Twenty-Nine Prominent Scientists Send Letter of Support to President Obama Over Nuclear Agreement

Washington, DC – Twenty-nine of the nation’s most prominent scientists sent a letter to President Obama last week in support of the international agreement between the world powers and Iran. Signatories to the letter include six Nobel laureates Philip W. Anderson of Princeton University; 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 University; and Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 “As scientists and engineers with understanding of the physics and technology of nuclear power and of nuclear weapons, we congratulate you and your team on the successful completion of the negotiations in Vienna,” reads the letter. “We consider that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the United States and its partners negotiated with Iran will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future non-proliferation agreements.”

The letter comes at a critical time for the Obama Administration, which is facing fierce criticism from the Republican Party as well as some fellow Democrats over the nuclear deal. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a leading Democrat and influential Jewish voice in Congress, expressed his concern in an op-ed released on Medium last week.

“[The] agreement would allow Iran, after ten to fifteen years, to be a nuclear threshold state with the blessing of the world community,” argues Schumer. “Iran would have a green light to be as close, if not closer to possessing a nuclear weapon than it is today. And the ability to thwart Iran if it is intent on becoming a nuclear power would have less moral and economic force.”

In response to such concerns, the scientist’s letter explains:

“Some have expressed concern that the deal will free Iran to develop nuclear weapons without constraint after ten years. In contrast we find that the deal includes important long-term verification procedures that last until 2040, and others that last indefinitely under the NPT and its Additional Protocol.”

The letter also addresses Schumer’s fear that the 24-day delay in inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities described by the agreement is not good enough to verify that Iran is complying with its commitments.

The letter explains, “The 24-day cap on any delay to access is unprecedented, and will allow effective challenge inspection for the suspected activities of greatest concern: clandestine enrichment, construction of reprocessing or reconversion facilities, and implosion tests using uranium.”

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