The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he will specifically watch the additional revenue to the Iranian government as a result of sanctions relief
The general recently cautioned against the U.S. relaxing arms embargoes against Iran as part of a deal
In his first public comments since the Iran nuclear agreement was reached, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday that time will tell whether the deal is successful.
“To me, it’s about time and Iranian behavior,” Dempsey told reporters, according to a Defense Department press release. “I think it is a little bit premature for me to be convinced that it will have a moderating effect or it will not.”
Dempsey, who was consulted on the military aspects of the agreement, including the verification process, said he will specifically watch the additional revenue to the Iranian government as a result of sanctions relief.
“There’s every reason to believe that the majority of it will be used to fix their economy that suffered under the sanctions,” said Dempsey, who was in Shannon, Ireland, during a refueling stop as part of an overseas trip. “But I also am alert to the possibility that some if it could be used to support the other malign activities.”
Dempsey also reiterated that the deal does not change his military responsibilities in the region, saying he will have options in the region whether the deal succeeds or fails.
“Now that there’s a negotiated agreement, my job is to … collaborate with allies in the Gulf and Israel to … increase our vigilance for the other activities and then to work with them to mitigate the threat that would be posed if [the Iranians] choose to use this revenue for malign purposes,” he said.
Dempsey also told reporters there is no need to adjust U.S. forces in the region.
The general’s comments about the deal are particularly noteworthy as he recently cautioned against the U.S. relaxing an arms embargo against Iran as part of a deal.
“Under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking,” Dempsey said earlier this month on Capitol Hill.
Ultimately, however, the U.S. ended up supporting an eventual relaxation in the embargo on the ability of Iran to buy conventional weapons and ballistic missiles. The Defense Department’s release Friday did not say whether Dempsey addressed the embargo.
Speaking in his weekly video address on Saturday, President Barack Obama stressed that the deal is not based on the belief that the Iran will no longer be a threat, but to solely prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“Does this deal resolve all of the threats Iran poses to its neighbors and the world? No,” the President said. “Does it do more than anyone has done before to make sure Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon? Yes. And that was our top priority from the start. That’s why it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure this deal holds.”
Obama, who defended the deal throughout the week in public settings, stressed again in the address that the deal was in everyone’s “best interest.”
“I welcome all scrutiny. I fear no questions,” Obama said of the deal. “As commander-in-chief, I make no apology for keeping this country safe and secure through the hard work of diplomacy over the easy rush to war.”
CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed to this report.