State Dept.: We Totally Trust IAEA with Inspections Where Only Iran Can Inspect

The State Department said today that everybody shouldn't worry about the Iran side agreements, because the International Atomic Energy Agency will do a great job with inspections where they're not allowed.

Press secretary John Kirby was grilled about an Associated Press story focusing on a draft seen of one of the final inspection agreements. According to “separate arrangement II" -- the AP didn't see a "separate arrangement I" -- Iran will take its own photos and video of Parchin and other military sites believed to be linked to the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program.

"As we've said before, including in classified briefings for both chambers of Congress, we're confident in the agency's technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of Iran's former program. Issues that, in some cases, date back more than a decade," Kirby told reporters at today's briefing.

"Just as importantly, the IAEA is comfortable with arrangements which are unique to the agency's investigation of Iran's historical activities," he continued. "When it comes to monitoring Iran's behavior going forward, the IAEA has separately developed the most robust inspection regime ever peacefully negotiated to ensure Iran's current program remains exclusively peaceful, the overarching objective, as you know, of the JCPOA."

He stressed that he wouldn't comment on the "purported draft document" cited by the AP.

"I wouldn't amend the secretary's comments about this at all. I mean, unless you've seen every single arrangement that the IAEA has with every other country in which it has a program for monitoring nuclear activity, I don't know," Kirby said. "It's routine that the IAEA has these arrangements with individual counties. Those arrangements are, as we've said, confidential by the nation itself and the IAEA. That's what's routine here."

"And this is, and remains, as I think the secretary has described it, as a technical arrangement between those two parties, and it's -- regardless of that detail it's not unlike, in terms of framework, the kinds of arrangements they have with other nations that have nuclear capacity."

Congress has not seen the arrangements, a withholding that many lawmakers are calling a deal-breaker on the vote next month.

But Kirby says they should be satisfied because both houses of Congress were "briefed" on the deal.

"But because it is reflective of a relationship between the IAEA and Iran, it is not for the P5+1 to endorse or negate," he added. "...That is what the P5+1 has endorsed: make sure that the IAEA is satisfied."

"Not an expert on IAEA protocols, but I can tell you that Secretary Kerry remains fully confident that the IAEA will manage their part of these requirements just as ably and efficiently as they do anywhere else in the world." But, he insisted, this inspections regime "is much more robust than in any other case around the world."

"We have full confidence in the IAEA and in the inspection regimen that they will establish and set up to make sure that Iran cannot achieve nuclear weapons capability. We're very comfortable with the arrangement."

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said it should be a no-brainer: “International inspections should be done by international inspectors. Period."

"The standard of ‘anywhere, anytime’ inspections – so critical to a viable agreement – has dropped to ‘when Iran wants, where Iran wants, on Iran’s terms.’ For weeks, Congress has been demanding access to this document to assess the viability of the inspections measures," Royce said. "Congress must now consider whether this unprecedented arrangement will keep Iran from cheating. This is a dangerous farce.”