The PJ Tatler

Chairman to Kerry: We'll Cut Off IAEA's Money If Congress Doesn't See Iran Deals

The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, which oversees contributions to the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned Secretary of State John Kerry that funding could be withheld if Congress doesn’t get to see the Iran side agreements.

Kerry has told Congress that the administration doesn’t have a copy of the side deals, and he personally didn’t see them. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said she saw drafts in the formative process. The IAEA chief told lawmakers recently that the agreements are classified and Congress doesn’t get copies.

“I respectfully request the Administration to provide in a timely manner to the Congress any and all copies of side agreements between Iran and the IAEA associated with the Iran nuclear deal,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who leads the subcommittee, wrote. “Given anticipated legislative action on this controversial deal in the Senate next month, firsthand information on IAEA side agreements are vital to both the debate and decision making process for all Members – irrespective of their views of Iran or the merits of the deal.”

Furthermore, Graham noted that there is precedent “for the IAEA to share side agreements between the Agency and the Iranian government.”

“In 2007, the IAEA made the document, ‘Understandings of Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues’ public. Additionally, the 1974 text of the Agreement between Iran and the Agency for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is available for all to review on the IAEA website,” the chairman noted.

“As an indication of how serious I view the provision of copies of these side agreements to our national security, I intend to condition and/or withhold voluntary contributions to the IAEA in fiscal year 2016 should they not be provided prior to the congressional debate next month.”

The letter reminds Kerry that the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill for 2016 provides $88 million for the IAEA under “Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs.”

“I anticipate that at some point these funds will be under discussion as part of a continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations bill, and I will work with my colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives to take appropriate action regarding IAEA voluntary contributions based on the provisions of these agreements,” Graham continued.

“I encourage you to make this request a priority within the Administration and in dealings with the IAEA, and to raise the necessity of providing all such side agreements to the Congress in any upcoming IAEA Board of Governors meetings.”