WASHINGTON – The director of the CIA during George W. Bush's administration, Michael Hayden, said that "right now, the Iranians are far too close to a nuclear weapon."
The former top American spy, who first served as the head of the NSA and then the CIA, said in an interview with Fox network Sunday night that following the interim nuclear deal that was struck in Geneva, "at the end of the day, Iran's going to be a nuclear threshold state."
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"It says in the agreement that we will come to an agreement with regard to their right to enrich, which is very different from the UN Security Council resolutions to date, which say that they do not have a right to enrich," Hayden explained. "We have hit the pause button," he said in regards to the interim deal, "now we've got to negotiate hitting the delete button with them."
Hayden admitted in the interview that "it's not like we have a whole lot of good choices with regard to Iran and their nuclear program. I’m willing to let this deal kind of run, but let’s be honest with ourselves. We have accepted Iranian uranium enrichment. There is no question about that. That's a different red line than we used to have. I understand that. That may be a result of the facts that changed on the ground."
Hayden stressed that "what we have to do is to push that threshold back as far as possible, and that will identify – that will define whether this was a good idea, or a bad idea. Right now, the Iranians are far too close to a nuclear weapon."
However, Hayden maintains a more pragmatic view and added that although Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif may not be moderates, the pair might still be "the best deal we can get in terms of interlocutors within the Islamic Republic."
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