You are on page 1of 6

United States Department of State

Washington, D.C. 20520


5 2015

Dear Senator Tester:

Thank you for your July 29 letter to President Obama regarding the nuclear
deal between the P5+ 1 and Iran. We appreciate the time you and your staff have
taken to read the details of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and
we appreciate the specific questions you have posed.
The JCPOA cuts off all of Iran's pathways to the fissile material for a
nuclear weapon and subjects Iran to the most rigorous access regime ever
negotiated to monitor a nuclear program. If Iran attempts to break out, we will
detect it. This deal ensures continuous monitoring of Iran's declared nuclear
facilities, including Natanz, Fordow, and Arak. International inspectors will have
access to Iran's entire nuclear supply chain - its uranium mines and mills; its
conversion facility; its centrifuge manufacturing and storage facilities; and its other
declared nuclear sites. If there are concerns of suspicious activities at an
undeclared location, the JCPOA requires Iran to provide the IAEA the necessary
access, as determined by 5 of the 8 members of the Joint Commission, within 24
days. If Iran does not provide the IAEA with the access necessary to resolve its
concerns, the United States can snap back sanctions, both domestically and at the
United Nations.
Regarding your first question, on Iran's research and development (R&D)
activities: Under the JCPOA, Iran is only allowed to conduct a very limited set of
R&D activities. In addition, Iran is not allowed to engage in R&D activities that
could contribute to a nuclear explosive device, and in fact, it has committed not to
engage in a series of specific activities that would be needed to develop a nuclear
weapon. The verification and transparency measures in place under the JCPOA

The Honorable,
Jon Tester,
United States Senate.

-2would allow us to know if such activities are taking place. If confirmed, such
activities would violate the lCPOA and we could take the appropriate steps in
Furthermore, Iran already possesses a number of advanced centrifuges - the
IR-2M, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, and IR-8 - all in various states ofR&D. Iran will not be
allowed to conduct R&D on any centrifuges more advanced than these for more
than a decade, and will only be allowed to do very small-scale R&D on these
centrifuges, under continuous IAEA monitoring. These constraints will
significantly limit the progress and pace of Iran's R&D program and provide
strong and intrusive monitoring, while ensuring these R&D activities do not shrink
Iran's breakout timeline for at least 10 years.
Additionally, after the initial 10 year period, Iran must abide by its
enrichment and R&D plan submitted to the IAEA under the Additional Protocol,
which will ensure a measured, incremental growth in its enrichment capacity
consonant with a peaceful nuclear program. Iran's commitments under the
Additional Protocol, and the enhanced monitoring measures associated with it, last
indefinitely - there is no time limit. Taken together, this layered approach
provides the monitoring and enforcement mechanisms necessary to prevent Iran
from conducting R&D related to nuclear weapons.
Regarding your second question on possible movement or hiding of nuclear
related materials: In addition to the measures the IAEA currently has to monitor
enrichment operations at the Natanz facility, Iran has committed to allow the IAEA
to employ modem technologies such as online enrichment monitoring that will
detect in real-time if Iran attempts to use its 5,060 IR-l centrifuges to enrich to
higher than 3.67%. The IAEA will also be allowed to conduct remote monitoring
of the facility through the use of electronic seals which send a signal in real time to
the lAEA if they are tampered with. There will also be monitoring of the entire
nuclear supply chain, including increased IAEA access to uranium mines, and
continuous monitoring of uranium mills and centrifuge production, assembly, and
storage facilities. It would be exceedingly difficult for Iran to divert materials or
components from its nuclear infrastructure to establish new clandestine sites
without the IAEA promptly detecting such an effort.
Regarding your third question, about the national and multilateral tools to
combat transfers of arms and ballistic missile technologies, we will have many
tools available to us after the expiration of the five and eight year restrictions put in
place by UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231. On the national front,

-3in conjunction with existing UNSCRs and other multilateral authorities, we will
also utilize bilateral cooperation with countries in the region to block Iranian
access to their territory for activities related to the illicit shipping of arms or
missiles. For example, we are already taking steps with our Gulf partners to ramp
up regional interdiction activities related to Iranian missile and arms activity. The
President discussed this with Gulf leaders at Camp David in May and Secretary
Kerry continued this conversation with the GCC Foreign Ministers in Doha this
past week.
Additionally, Executive Orders 12938 and 13382 authorize U.S. sanctions
on foreign persons that materially contribute to the proliferation of missiles capable
of delivering weapons (including efforts to manufacture, acquire, develop, or
transfer them), by any person or foreign country of proliferation concern, such as
Iran. These authorities also authorize sanctions on any person or entity that
provides material support to such activities or sanctioned persons. The Iran, North
Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA) of2006levies U.S. sanctions on
entities connected to Iranian ballistic and cruise missile activity. The Lethal
Military Equipment Sanctions (2006) provision in the Foreign Assistance Act, the
Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, as amended, and the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation
Act (1992) all impose U.S. sanctions on individuals and entities involved in the
sale or transfer of goods to Iran that may contribute to Iran's ability to acquire or
develop conventional arms or missiles.
On the multilateral front, we will still be able to rely on a series of other
UNSCRs that levy arms embargoes against key areas of concern. Iranian arms
transfers to the Houthis in Yemen, Shia militants in Iraq, Hizballah in Lebanon, or
to Libya or North Korea would still violate UNSCRs and for that reason could be
susceptible to interdiction. We will work with the 100-plus countries around the
world that have signed the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to help limit
Iranian missile-related imports or exports. The Missile Technology Control
Regime (MTCR) also plays a critical role in preventing the spread of critical
missile technology. The MTCR Guidelines maintain a strong presumption of
denial for the transfer of Category I systems, which include ballistic missiles. We
will continue to rely on countries' adherence to the MTCR Guidelines for
transports in support of Iran's missile program.
All of these multilateral and national tools remain in place and are in no way
impacted by the JCPOA or any phase of its implementation. The JCPOA also
explicitly prohibits the activities needed to produce a nuclear warhead for a
missile. Iran has agreed not to undertake the steps needed to build a nuclear

-4explosive device, and by extension, not to have the ability to field a missile with a
nuclear weapon.
Regarding your fourth question, about how we will work to prevent a
conventional arms buildup in the region, we will continue to use all of the tools
outlined above specific to transfers of arms and missile technology, as well as
other national and multilateral tools. The JCPOA does not provide Iran relief from
U.S. sanctions on terrorism or Iran's destabilizing activities in the region. The
existing sanctions authorities that will remain in place under the JCPOA include
Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 (counter-terrorism), E.O. 13553, E.O. 13606, E.O.
13628 (human rights abuses in Iran); E.O. 13582 (support for Syria's Asad
regime); E.O. 13572 (human rights abuses in Syria); E.O. 13438 (fomenting
instability in Iraq); and E.O. 13611 (threatening the stability of Yemen). Iranian
individuals and entities that have been sanctioned under these non-nuclear
sanctions authorities will continue to be sanctioned under the JCPOA. U.S.
persons will continue to be prohibited from dealing with such persons, and nonU.S. persons that deal with such persons will risk being cut off from the U.S.
fmancial system. Furthermore, as I mentioned above, there are several other
UNSCRs that prohibit arms transfers to various unstable areas of the Middle East.
We will continue to use those authorities to help prevent the spread of conventional
weapons. Importantly, we will also fully uphold our unshakeable commitment to
the security of the region, and we will continue to protect our core interests and
confront challenges that emerge. That is why we will continue to maintain a strong
force posture to deter aggression; build partner capacity; bolster the security of our
regional friends and allies; and continue to work to create more integrated regional
security architecture.
Finally, regarding your fifth question, on the first part I would refer you to
our most recent "Country Reports on Terrorism" for 2014, in which Iran is
included in Chapter 3, State Sponsors of Terrorism. As we found in our report,
Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2014, including support for
Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, Lebanese Hizballah, and various groups in
Iraq and throughout the Middle East. The specific area where we noted an increase
was with respect to Iran's assistance to Iraqi Shia militias in response to the
Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) incursion into Iraq. This specific
increase in assistance to militias battling against ISIL in Iraq is perhaps indicative
of the serious threat that Iran sees in ISIL at its doorstep. We believe that Iran has
used most of the JPOA-related sanctions relief on domestic needs.

-5Regarding the second part of your final question, on how Iran may use any
JCPOA sanctions relief it would receive if it meets its nuclear commitments, we
have reserved the necessary sanctions authorities to block Iran's assets if we
receive information that Iran is diverting or utilizing these funds for sanctionable
activities. We estimate Iran has $100 billion in such assets, but it will only be able
to access about $50 billion of that amount freely. Much of the remainder will
remain inaccessible to Iran based on economic obligations Iran has incurred with
other nations, including $22 billion in assets held by China's central insurance
company as collateral to finance Chinese investments in Iran.
Iran has many pressing domestic needs for these funds. These reserves
constitute the country's long-term savings, and not a budgetary allowance. As a
matter of financial reality, Iran cannot simply spend the usable resources as they
will likely be needed to meet international payment obligations, such as financing
for imports and external debt. Moreover, President Rouhani was elected on a
platform of economic revitalization and faces a political imperative to meet those
unfulfilled promises. Rouhani faces over half a trillion dollars in pressing
investment requirements and government obligations, and he presides over one of
the worst business environments in the world: these will demand Iran's urgent
Regardless of how Iran chooses to spend its money, to which it would
receive access only after it takes key nuclear steps, our commitment to our allies'
security will remain unwavering. Our security relationships with our Gulf partners
and Israel remain close and enduring. We have worked with our Gulf partners for
decades to train and plan to address regional threats; our militaries have an
increasingly high degree of interoperability, as demonstrated by a robust schedule
of joint military exercises; broad range of training activities; and day-to-day
coordination in the counter-ISIL coalition and in Yemen. This past week,
Secretary Kerry was in Doha to further our implementation of the strategic
partnership between the United States and the countries of the GCC which the
President outlined at Camp David. Critically, Israel remains the leading recipient
of U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF), has privileged access to advanced U.S.
military equipment, and enjoys an unprecedented level of cooperation within the
defense and intelligence arenas. This special partnership was underscored by
Secretary Carter's recent visit to engage with his Israeli interlocutors, and one that
we will continue to look to enhance going forward.
We will take every step necessary to protect our regional interests and those
of our allies and will respond to all threats as appropriate, including continuing to

-6vigorously enforce our terrorism-related sanctions and holding Tehran accountable

for its destabilizing activities in the region.
The level of engagement with Congress that we have maintained on the
nuclear deal has been unprecedented and we look forward to continuing our close
consultations. We hope this information is useful to you. Please do not hesitate to
contact us.if we can be of further assistance.

Julia Frifield
Assistant Secretary
Legislative Affairs

You might also like