Despite the recent deal struck by Iran and world powers on its nuclear program, the sanctions against Suleimani remain in effect, Toner noted, adding the U.S. would work to ensure "that there's a full, thorough, adequate investigation [of the visit] as well as sufficient follow-up." Suleimani has also reportedly been sighted visiting Iranian-backed forces in Iraq. Meanwhile, Iranian media reported that the military is preparing to launch a series of missile drills following a direct order to resume military activity from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Iran's state-controlled Fars News Agency reported that Khamenei ordered the military to resume launching missiles and running drills. On Tuesday, the Iranian navy and Russian navy organized a joint military exercise, which is considered a show of force in the region.
Moreover, it is still uncertain whether Congress will approve the deal, as there is strong opposition against the nuclear deal with Iran, claiming that the national interests of the U.S. are at risk. The former White House official, who resigned this week as head of a key U.S. group lobbying against the Iran nuclear deal, warned the partisan row was hurting America's national interests. Gary Samore, who stepped down as president of United Against Nuclear Iran because he supports the agreement, said a political battle between Congress and the White House had crowded out the "pragmatic center." "This looks like it will be a straight-out political battle between Republicans and some Democrats against the White House and that's very unfortunate," Samore told AFP. The Republican-controlled Congress is expected in September to vote against the deal, but is unlikely to have enough support to overturn Obama's veto. "I don't know that this agreement is really going to survive 15 years, in fact my guess is that it probably won't," Samore said. "But if the agreement collapses I have confidence in our ability to mobilize support for pressure against Iran or use military force if necessary. It would be much better if the White House and Congress could come to an agreement on a resolution of support, with conditions that would strengthen the elements of the deal," he added. "That would be, from a national interest standpoint, the best outcome," he said. "Unfortunately I think the politics preclude that from happening."
However, the U.S. officials said that they are watching Iran closely and will know if Tehran fails to fulfill the requirements of the deal. U.S. Intelligence officials say they are confident they can verify Iran's compliance with the recently completed nuclear deal, despite a track record of misjudgments about weapons of mass destruction. The main reason, according to a classified joint intelligence assessment presented to Congress, is that the deal requires Iran to provide an unprecedented volume of information about nearly every aspect of its existing nuclear program, which Iran insists is peaceful. That data will make checking on compliance easier, officials say, because it will shrink Iran's capacity to hide a covert weapons program. "We will have far better insight (into) the industrial aspects of the Iranian nuclear program with this deal than what we have today," James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told an audience last month at the Aspen Security Forum.
Outside experts don't dispute that. But they question - considering past analytical blind spots in the Middle East - whether American spying will really be able to catch every instance of Iranian cheating. "The intelligence community can rarely guarantee, ‘We're going to find the secret site,'" said David Albright, a former weapons inspector who heads the Institute for Science and International Security. "They have found them before in Iran and that's good, but I think they are going to have to do more work and bolster their capabilities to find secret sites in Iran in an environment when Iran is taking counter measures against them." Skeptics of the deal note that Iran is one of the world's hardest places in which to spy. Iran's intelligence agencies have penetrated CIA front companies, executed Western agents and captured a sophisticated U.S. drone. The CIA has never had much success developing and keeping good intelligence sources in Iran, says Reuel Marc Gerecht, who worked as a CIA operations officer. "The truth is that the CIA and the NSA are largely flying blind inside the Islamic Republic on the nuclear question," he wrote recently in the Weekly Standard.
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