WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Ash Carter continued the administration’s defense of the Iran nuclear deal, telling lawmakers Wednesday that while a pact with Iran carries risks, it is better than the alternative: an inevitable military confrontation.
“The effects of a strike are temporary, and secondly, Iran would respond to an American military strike,” Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee, when asked whether a military strike would set Iran’s military program back further than the accord. Such a strike could lead Iran to become “irreconcilably committed to getting a nuclear weapon … Effectively implemented, [the accord] stops Iran from getting a nuclear weapon not just for ten years or 15 years, but way beyond that.”
Recognizing the deal may fail or fail to be implemented effectively, Carter said he was under presidential instructions to preserve and improve upon the military options, as a fall back. Indeed, the military option becomes slightly more effective under the agreement because, “We have a more complete understandiing where everything is associated with a nuclear program that we might strike,” he said.