CIA chief: ‘Dis­as­trous’ if Trump kills Iran deal

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - —Wash­ing­ton Bureau

WASH­ING­TON — Se­nior U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials are in­creas­ingly con­cerned that Pres­i­dent- elect Don­ald Trump’s threats to dis­man­tle the Iran nu­clear deal would bol­ster hard-lin­ers in Tehran and spark a nu­clear arms race in the Mid­dle East.

Over the last month, U.S. in­tel­li­gence an­a­lysts have writ­ten se­cret re­ports on the pos­si­ble ef­fects if the next ad­min­is­tra­tion aban­doned or in ef­fect sab­o­taged the arm­scon­trol ac­cord, as Trump has vowed to do dur­ing the cam­paign.

The con­cerns broke into the open Wed­nes­day when CIA Direc­tor John Bren­nan is­sued a blunt pub­lic warn­ing, say­ing it would be the “height of folly” and “dis­as­trous” for Trump to scrub a deal that has blocked Iran’s nu­clear development.

Bren­nan told BBC TVthat re­vok­ing the agree­ment could al­low Iran to resume its now-halted nu­clear pro­gram and spur other coun­tries in the Mid­dle East to de­velop or ac­quire nu­clear weapons for pro­tec­tion. “I think it would be dis­as­trous” for Trump to jet­ti­son the deal, Bren­nan said.

Bren­nan did not name other coun­tries, but Saudi Ara­bia, Iran’s staunch ri­val, is es­pe­cially fear­ful of a nu­clear-armed Iran given Tehran’s ag­gres­sive pur­suit of re­gional in­flu­ence and power.

It is ex­tremely rare for the CIA direc­tor to is­sue a pub­lic warn­ing to an in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion, and it sug­gests deep con­cerns within the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity about Trump’s in­ten­tions.

TI­MOTHY A. CLARY/GETTY-AFP

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