National Security Advisor Susan Rice said that when international inspectors take a peek at Iran’s nuclear facilities, there won’t be an American in the bunch.
“There are not going to independent American inspectors separate from the [International Atomic Energy Agency],” Rice told CNN. “The IAEA will be doing inspections — the inspections on behalf of the United States and the rest of the international community.”
Rice called the blowback over the deal’s inspections-approval board — on which Iran holds a seat and will be able to appeal decisions — “misplaced concern.”
“What we’re talking about is the rare case when we have a suspicious site or other suspicious entity that we or other members of the international community believe needs to be inspected. In that case, the IAEA will go to Iran and say we need to look at this. And if the Iranians say no, there will be a process for working out that access to the IAEA’s satisfaction,” she said.
“If that does not occur, then the United States, acting with its European partners, can together decide that that inspection must occur. And if it hasn’t occurred by the end of 24 days, Iran will be in violation of the agreement and we would be in a position to go straight to the U.N. Security Council and automatically, unilaterally, by the United States, reimpose sanctions… So we’re not concerned that that length of time gives the Iranians the ability to hide nefarious nuclear activity.”
Asked about Iran using its sanctions relief slush fund to sink money into international terrorism, Rice said the deal was about the nuclear program only.
“The U.N. resolutions that set up this structure always envisioned that if an when Iran met its obligations and we could be confident that they were not engaged in illegal construction or preparations for a nuclear weapon, that all the sanctions would be lifted. That’s what the — that’s what we all signed up to,” she said.
“What do we think they’ll spend that money on? We think for the most part, they’re going to need to spend it on the Iranian nuclear program and their economy, which has tanked.”
But, she added, “we should expect that some portion of that money would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now.”
“But the goal here was never — and it was not designed to prevent them from engaging in bad behavior in the region. They’re doing that today.”
Pressed on what happens if Congress shoots down a deal with veto-proof majority, Rice insisted “it’s hardly important what it means to the president’s legacy.”
“If this deal is going to fail, let it be because the Iranian government didn’t implement its obligations. And if that’s the case, we’re in a strengthened position. We can maintain the sanctions regime and we will have the international community behind us for whatever else we may need to do,” she said.
“But if we jettison a deal that is a good deal, that accomplishes everything we set out to accomplish, then it’s on us. And Iran is unconstrained and the sanctions regime and international unity is destroyed. That makes no sense.”