0302 GMT November 19, 2019
Referring to his counseling to the US Congress about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), often referred to as Iran Nuclear Deal, Colonel Larry Wilkerson told IRNA that Congress people won't accept US' quitting the deal without documents that prove Iran has violated it, IRNA reported.
Pleased with the support of US military people, such as Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, and his deputy Paul J. Selva for the JCPOA, Wilkerson said military officials have said 'the statements are positive and Iran is complying with the agreement it would be best if the United states continues in the agreement'.
He referred Mattis' yesterday defense for the JCPOA and quoted him, 'A review is on the way; the review would be completed and the President would make the final decision.'
Wilkerson said he was encouraged that so many national security people, including these generals, are saying two things: one, Iran is complying; and two, it would be probably not in the US interest to withdraw as long as that is the case.
Answering a question if explicit defense of the US Secretary of State was done in order to press US President Donald Trump, Wilkerson said, 'I don’t know how his administration runs. I have my suspicions; I think people speak both publicly and privately, and hope that they influence him.'
He added, 'But I think all of them from Kelly, to Mattis, to McMaster, to Tillerson … no matter who they are, I think, they all wait with bated breath to see what decision he is gonna make. Because, I think, ultimately, the decision comes from Trump's political gut. So Mattis, McMaster, Tillerson ... No one knows what he is gonna decide, which is a real problem..'
Colin Powell's Chief of Staff added, 'Trump does not have control of the English Language; he does not know how to fit English words to circumstances. He misspeaks in that regard all the time, whether it is hurricane victims or Iran Nuclear Agreement, or 'Rocket Man' in North Korea.
'We simply don’t know what he is gonna decide and what he is gonna say about the decisions. Sometimes, I don’t even think he knows until he opens his mouth. That's very dangerous,' Wilkerson said.
Colonel Wilkerson who was among the 48 high-ranking signatories of the open letter to President Trump in support of the Iran Deal; while answering the question if he thinks such letters and actions could have any influence on the President of the US, he said, 'I hope so, but I'm not counting on it.'
He added, 'I'm spending my days in Washington, last week and this week, talking to republicans. And what I'm talking to them about is two things' getting out of the war in Yemen and staying in the Nuclear Agreement with Iran.'
He said that, however, his is encountering 'stupid' Republicans, 'So you can't influence them. But I'm encountering a number of republicans who are having second thoughts about previous statements they may have made, or are having more serious thoughts about what it would mean if we precipitously withdrew from the agreement, or if we found Iran in noncompliance without any proof.'
He also said, 'These republicans give me a little bit of hope because I think they are going to refuse Trump' and if they are enough of them with the Democrats, even if the US President makes a decision against the Deal, the Congress might stand up to it; and it is the Congress that can re-implement sanctions on Iran, and they may not do that.
Answering the question if the Republican representatives had straightforward told him that they would oppose re-imposing nuclear sanctions on Iran, he said, 'No. What I'm hearing from majority of them is they are giving serious thoughts if the President does something that they don’t agree with and to declare Iran is in compliance … they would not agree with, then they won't re-implement sanctions that will just stonewall the President.'
Regarding Donald Trump's proofs against Iran, he said, 'If there is no real evidence, and so far the intelligence community is unanimous that there isn’t any, regardless of what the President does, the congress is not going to reinstitute the sanctions that were relieved under the agreement.'
Wilkerson added that he had been in touch with Democrats as well; 'we are giving up, more or less, on those who are so in amour with Israel, but they can't see any other way to vote, Schumer in New York seems to be that way,' he said.
H e also said that most Democrats are for the 'singular diplomatic achievement' and 'as long as there is no intelligence to force them to abandon it,' they will support the JCPOA.