Gen. Michael Hayden, President George W. Bush’s director of the NSA and CIA, told Fox News on Friday morning that he was “heartened” by the tentative deal the Obama administration and its international partners have reached with Iran in an effort to contain its nuclear program.
Under the terms of the plan, Iran will suspend over two-thirds of its installed centrifuges and dilute or ship overseas its enriched uranium stocks. Once inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirm that Iran has met its obligations, the United States, and the international community, will lift economic sanctions against the country.
“In terms of what it is we think we know, I have not yet found anything in the contract, so to speak, that I find disqualifying,” Hayden said. “It’s more than I thought we would demand, so in that sense I’m heartened.” He added, however, that “there is a lot here we don’t know yet.” Hayden raised concerns about what happens to Iran’s low enriched uranium stockpiles and whether inspectors will be able to have unannounced access to Iran’s facilities.
Yet he also conceded that “there are no good alternatives” to a diplomatic solution to Iran’s disputed nuclear program. “I freely admit, plans B, C, D, and E aren’t all that attractive either and so that’s why you can probably sense Bill, I’m willing to give this thing some time. Let’s see if we can get it to the right place so it’s acceptable,” Hayden said.
Some lawmakers who oppose the diplomatic solution have urged Congress to impose tough sanctions against Iran or consider military options should Iran continue to develop its nuclear capabilities. Hayden has previously admitted that the Bush administration considered military intervention in Iran but decided against it after concluding that bombing “would guarantee that which we are trying to prevent — an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon and that would build it in secret” and would likely require military occupation.