Critics of the Iran nuclear deal have suggested that the reported side deals between Iran and the international nuclear watchdog could undermine the inspections regime meant to underpin the Vienna accord.
The report indicated that, according to a document obtained by the Associated Press, Iran would be able to carry out the investigations of its Parchin military site — where munitions testing and nuclear research may have taken place — on its own terms, and report those to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will use the findings as part of the road-map it will present to world powers before the nuclear deal is implemented. The IAEA report addressing its concerns over Iran’s vexed nuclear program is expected to be submitted this December.
Although experts claim that the Parchin site is a “red herring” and that nuclear-related activities have long been covered up — those munitions tests are said to have occurred over a decade ago — critics of the Obama administration’s deal with Iran and world powers contend that the side agreement raises questions about the effectiveness of the inspections regime under the JCPoA meant to ensure that Iran does not cheat, and that if it does, the world will know about it.
“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. Congress must now consider whether this unprecedented arrangement will keep Iran from cheating. This is a dangerous farce,” said Chairman of the House Committee for Foreign Affairs, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA).
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said, “This type of unorthodox agreement has never been done before by the IAEA and speaks to the great lengths our negotiators took to accommodate the Ayatollah despite repeated assurances from the administration that this deal is not based on trust.”
And in Israel, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz, who has remained Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s point man for the nuclear deal for the past several years and administrations, chided, “One must welcome this global innovation and outside-the-box thinking. One can only wonder if the Iranian inspectors will also have to wait 24 days before being able to visit the site and look for incriminating evidence?”
State Department officials meanwhile downplayed the significance of the AP revelations: “We’re confident in the agency’s technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of Iran’s former program,” said State Department Spokesman John Kirby.
And the IAEA stressed that its access to Parchin would fulfill the requirements it needed to fully assess Iran’s nuclear program before submitting its report, with IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano issuing an uncharacteristically fiery statement regarding AP‘s reporting: “I am disturbed by statements suggesting that the IAEA has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran. Such statements misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work.”