Former Secretary of State Colin Powell came out in support of the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran on Iran’s nuclear program.
Powell, a retired general who was the top US diplomat under Republican President George W. Bush, said he had studied the deal in depth and listened to arguments from both supporters and opponents.
“My judgment after balancing those two sets of information is that it’s a pretty good deal,” Powell declared on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“The great concern from the opposition is that we’re leaving open a lane for Iran to create a nuclear weapon in 10 to 15 years,” he added. “The reality is that they have been on a super highway for the last 10 years to create a nuclear weapon … with no speed limit.”
He said the reductions in the number of centrifuges and in Iran's uranium stockpile, and the fact that the Iranians agreed to shut down their plutonium reactor were all "remarkable."
"These are remarkable changes, and so we have stopped this highway race that they were going down — and I think that's very, very important," Powell said.
Powell disagreed with critics who worry about the ability of independent inspectors to verify that Iran is following the agreement. Powell said that, "with respect to the Iranians — don't trust, never trust, and always verify."
"And I think a very vigorous verification regime has been put into place," he said.
"People are saying, 'No, you can't trust them.' I don't trust them. I say, 'We have a deal, let's see how they implement the deal. If they don't implement it, bail out.' None of our options are gone."
"We have to keep pushing on the bad behavior that the Iranians show constantly throughout the world," Powell opined. "But this deal specifically had to do with the thing that was most concerning to the world, most dangerous to the world, and that was there nuclear program, which could produce a weapon in a very short period of time."