An executive branch official told a Senate panel on Wednesday that the United States would not respond to a “small breach” of the Iranian nuclear agreement, should Tehran decide to forgo its commitment to the accord.
During the hearing, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) asked Treasury Department official Adam Szubin, who serves as its acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, what it would take for the U.S. to intervene in Iran’s nuclear program, should the regime be caught cheating on the agreement. Crapo asked if the Obama administration would cancel the agreement for anything other than a “very serious violation,” such as if Iran decided it would attempt to build a nuclear weapon, to which Szubin responded in the affirmative.
“So we would have to get to that level of proof of a violation (Iran openly building a nuclear weapon) before we can see an effective re-implementation of sanctions?” Crapo asked.
“No. I think, what I’m saying is that we’ll obviously want to respond in a proportional way,” Szubin responded.
“Its not in our strategic interest to respond to a small breach with scrapping the agreement and trying to put all of the sanctions back into place. I don’t think that would have the success that we had over the last few years, and I don’t think it would be in our interest to see this agreement scrapped,” he added.
“If we see a small breach it’s in our interest to see Iran cure and to come back into full compliance in a way that we can verify,” the Treasury official concluded.
Szubin was joined at the hearing by Wendy Sherman, who served as chief negotiator over the Iran agreement, and assumed a similar position over the failed talks with the North Korean regime.