The White House said Wednesday it was “comfortable” with arrangements made during private negotiations between Iran and nuclear monitoring agencies to self-inspect Iranian nuclear sites, adding administration officials were “confident” in the abilities of the International Agency for Atomic Energy (IAEA) to properly monitor and inspect Iran’s past and future nuclear efforts.
“As the administration has said before – including in classified briefings for both chambers of Congress – we are 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,” said White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price.
Price’s comment came amid a new revelation that the IAEA gave up its authority over investigating a suspected nuclear site to Iran itself.
“Just as importantly, the IAEA is comfortable with arrangements, which are unique to the agency’s investigation of Iran’s historical activities,” Price 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 of the JCPOA. Beyond that, we are not going to comment on a purported draft IAEA document.”
According to a classified document obtained by the Associated Press, Iran will not use its own nuclear officials to inspect the Parchin nuclear site. The Islamic Republic has refused nuclear inspector’s access to Parchin to years.
Over the years, intelligence gathered by the US, Israel and other countries have led to IAEA suspicions that Iran may have experimented with high-explosive detonators for nuclear weapons at Parchin. Satellite imagery also suggests numerous attempts by Iran to sanitize the site.
Israeli officials are fuming over the announcement that Iran will not self-inspect its nuclear sites. Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz sarcastically responded, “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?”
Republican Congressional leaders also issued their criticism of the self-inspection mechanism now in place. “This side agreement shows that true verification is a sham, and it begs the question of what else the administration is keeping from Congress,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader.
Second-ranking Republican Senator John Cornyn (TX) said, “Trusting Iran to inspect its own nuclear site and report to the UN in an open and transparent way is remarkably naive and incredibly reckless. This revelation only reinforces the deep-seated concerns the American people have about the agreement.”
Representative Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the IAEA decision emphasizes that the nuclear deal is a “dangerous farce” and that world leaders capitulated to every Iranian demand.
“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,’” he explained. “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.”