Congress has been rebuffed in its requests to see the deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, with many arguing that lawmakers can’t consider the deal as they’re entitled by law without knowing all the details.
But the Associated Press has seen one of those documents, and reports today that “Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms” — Parchin:
The document seen by the AP is a draft that one official familiar with its contents said doesn’t differ substantially from the final version. He demanded anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the issue in public.
The document is labeled “separate arrangement II,” indicating there is another confidential agreement between Iran and the IAEA governing the agency’s probe of the nuclear weapons allegations.
Iran is to provide agency experts with photos and videos of locations the IAEA says are linked to the alleged weapons work, “taking into account military concerns.”
That wording suggests that — beyond being barred from physically visiting the site — the agency won’t get photo or video information from areas Iran says are off-limits because they have military significance.
While the document says the IAEA “will ensure the technical authenticity” of Iran’s inspection, it does not say how.
The draft is unsigned but the proposed signatory for Iran is listed as Ali Hoseini Tash, deputy secretary of the Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs. That reflects the significance Tehran attaches to the agreement.
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced his “no” vote today, and cited the IAEA agreements as one of many reasons why.
“While I remain deeply concerned with what I have been able to review in the Iran nuclear agreement, I am even more disturbed by the fact that there are agreements between the IAEA and Iran that Congress has not been allowed to read,” Isakson said. “These secret agreements will serve as a baseline, yet we will not be able to know where that line actually is. To vote for something that I am not allowed to read would be an injustice to the people I represent.”
Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress that he hadn’t read the agreements, and the administration doesn’t have a copy. The IAEA chief told lawmakers the agency won’t reveal anything about the agreements because of confidentiality.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blasted the existence of a side agreement as proof that the deal is a “sham.”
“After Iran spent years developing their nuclear capacity in secret while denying that they were doing so, we would now allow Iran to police these sites themselves,” McCarthy said in a statement. “This is a very serious development and should concern every member of Congress who supports or is thinking about supporting this deal. President Obama said that this deal is ‘not built on trust,’ but on verification.”
“This side agreement shows that true verification is a sham, and it begs the question of what else the administration is keeping from Congress.”
“Trusting Iran to inspect its own nuclear site and report to the U.N. in an open and transparent way is remarkably naïve and incredibly reckless,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. “This revelation only reinforces the deep-seated concerns the American people have about the agreement. It is time for the Obama administration to come clean with the American people and provide all information about these secret side agreements between Iran and the IAEA.”