The Buzz

Nancy Kassebaum, Jim Slattery come out FOR the Iran nuclear pact

Kansas’ current congressional delegation appears to be rock-solid against the Iran nuclear pact that President Barack Obama’s administration has negotiated.

But two former members have come out for the deal: one-time U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum and Congressman Jim Slattery.

Both are members of a group called The IranProject that seeks to improve relations between the U.S. and Iran. In July, the two signed a letter supporting the pact.

In fact, Slattery, who represented Kansas’ 2nd District from 1983-1995, has issued his own list of “top 10 reasons” to back the deal. Here they are:

1. Iran agrees to reduce the number of centrifuges it has from about 19,000 installed today to 6,104 with only 5,060 enriching uranium for next 10 years.

2. Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium over 3.67 percent. This is nowhere near weapons-grade enriched uranium. Iran has already enriched Uranium to 20 percent.

3. Iran has agreed to reduce it's current stockpile of about 10,000 Kg of low enriched uranium (LEU) to 300 Kg of 3.67 percent LEU for 15 years.

4. Iran has agreed to not build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching Uranium for 15 years.

5. Iran has agreed to convert its Fordow facility so that it is used for peaceful purposes only--into a nuclear, physics, technology, research center. Iran has agreed to not conduct research and development associated with uranium enrichment at Fordow for 15 years. Iran will not have any fissile material at Fordow for 15 years.

6. Iran has agreed to redesign and rebuild a heavy water research reactor in Arak which will not produce weapons grade plutonium and which will support peaceful nuclear research and radioisotope production. Iran will not build any additional heavy water reactors for 15 years.

7. Iran will only enrich uranium at the Natanz facility, with 5,060 IR-1 first generation centrifuges. Iran will remove 1,000 IR-2 M centrifuges currently installed at Natanz and place them in IAEA monitored storage for 10 years. Iran will not use its upgraded IR-2, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6 or IR-8 to produce enriched uranium for at least 10 years.

8. The IAEA will have regular access to all of Iran's nuclear facilities. Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol of the IAEA which provides the IAEA much greater access and information. Iran will be required to grant access to the IAEA to investigate suspicious sites or allegations of a covert enrichment facility, conversion facility, centrifuge production facility, or yellow cake production facility anywhere in the country.

9. Iran's breakout timeline-the time that it would take for Iran to acquire enough fissile material for one weapon -is currently 2 to 3 months by most estimates. That timeline will be extended to at least one year, for a duration of at least 10 years under this framework .

10. Iran will receive sanctions relief, if it verifiably abides by its commitments. U.S. and E.U. nuclear related sanctions will be suspended after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclearrelated steps. If at any time Iran fails to fulfill its commitments, these sanctions will snap back into place.

Bottom line, Iran has offered to fundamentally restructure its nuclear program while committing to give the IAEA unprecedented access to monitor their actions. Opponents of this agreement including Israeli Prime Minister seem to ignore the fact that Iran has a sophisticated nuclear program and if determined to build a bomb could probably do so in a few months. The current nuclear program has been developed while sanctions have been in place. The pending nuclear agreement may offer an opportunity to reset relations with Iran after 35 years of hostility. We need to go forward and find out what is possible.