Open Letter from U.S. Military Leaders Opposing Iran Nuclear Deal

In Ukraine, we are bearing witness to the horrors of a country ruthlessly attacking its neighbor and, by brandishing its nuclear weapons, forcing the rest of the world largely to stand on the sidelines.

The new Iran deal currently being negotiated, which Russia has played a central role in crafting, will enable the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to cast its own nuclear shadow over the Middle East.

As retired American military leaders who devoted their lives to the defense of our nation, we oppose this emerging deal that is poised to instantly fuel explosive Iranian aggression and pave Iran’s path to become a nuclear power, threatening the American homeland and the very existence of America’s regional allies.


  • Is shorter and weaker than the original 2015 agreement, instead of being “longer and stronger” and putting Iran “in a box,” as promised.
  • Could leave Iran twice as close to a nuclear weapon as the 2015 agreement.
  • Will allow restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program start to lapse in two years.
  • Will permit Iran, by 2024, to build advanced centrifuges with which it can enrich even more uranium even faster.
  • Will permit Iran, by 2031, to possess an unrestricted nuclear program and the capability to build a bomb at will.
  • Will not compel Iran to reveal the extent of past efforts to develop nuclear weapons, as required by 2015 agreement.
  • Will pay Russia to store Iran’s enriched uranium.
  • Does not prohibit Iran’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, allowing it to acquire the means to target the American homeland with nuclear weapons.
  • Would, if Iranian demands are met, take the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps—Iran’s main terrorist wing responsible for the deaths of at least 600 American troops—off the U.S. terrorist list.
  • Lifts sanctions, earning hundreds of billions of dollars for the radical regime in Tehran to fuel greater aggression against U.S. soldiers and our allies in the region.

America’s closest regional partners, attacked regularly by Iran, already strongly oppose the proposed deal. If we will not help protect them against Iran, we cannot expect their help addressing threats like Russia and China.

We instead support diplomacy that would genuinely end the threat posed by Iran’s military nuclear program and counter Iran’s regional aggression, backed up by credibly drawn and enforced redlines against Iranian nuclear and regional escalation.


VADM John Bird, USN, Co-Chair

Gen Chuck Wald, USAF, Co-Chair

Gen James Amos, USMC

Gen William Begert, USAF

Gen Kevin Chilton, USAF

ADM Bruce Clingan, USN

Gen Donald Cook, USAF

ADM Mark Fitzgerald, USN

GEN Frank Grass, USA

Gen Alfred Hansen, USAF

Gen Gilmary Michael Hostage III, USAF

ADM Jerome Johnson, USN

Gen Duncan McNabb, USAF

GEN Walter L. “Skip” Sharp, USA

GEN James D. Thurman, USA

LTG Robert Ashley, USA

LTG H. Steven Blum, USA

VADM William Burke, USN

VADM Michael J. Connor, USN

LtGen Jon Davis, USMC

Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF

Lt Gen Eric Fiel, USAF

VADM Mark Fox, USN

LTG David P. Fridovich, USA

Lt Gen Michael Gould, USAF

LtGen Earl Hailston, USMC

Lt Gen Tom Keck, USAF

LTG Raymond Mason, USA

Lt Gen Charlie May, USAF

LtGen Fred McCorkle, USMC

LtGen Richard Mills, USMC

Lt Gen C D Moore, USAF

LTG Raymond Palumbo, USA

Lt Gen Mark Shackelford, USAF

VADM Herman Shelanski, USN

LTG Thomas Spoehr, USA

Lt Gen Thomas Trask, USAF

Maj Gen Jack Catton, USAF

MajGen Jon Gallinetti, USMC

Maj Gen Kenneth R. Israel, USAF

MG James A. Kelley, USA

RADM Mary Landry, USCG

RADM Brian L. Losey, USN

MG John Macdonald, USA

MajGen Larry Taylor, USMCR

Brig Gen Keith Connolly, USAF

Organized by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).