National Security & Defense

Report: Side Deals Allow Iran to Inspect Its Own Nuke Site

Secretary Kerry defends the Iran deal on Capitol Hill, July 28, 2015. (Getty Images)

State Department officials have failed to reply to a three-week old request for information about Iran deal “side agreements,” but a new report suggests the agreement allows Iran to inspect its own nuclear site.

“Iran, in an unusual arrangement, will be allowed to use its own experts to inspect a site it allegedly used to develop nuclear arms under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work,” the Associated Press reports. “Without divulging its contents, the Obama administration has described the document as nothing more than a routine technical arrangement between Iran and the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the particulars of inspecting the site.”

The existence of the side agreements, though not their contents, was discovered by Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Representative Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) during a meeting with the IAEA in July. Since then, the Obama administration has maintained that Congress has no right to see the agreements before voting on the overall Iran deal.

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“These documents have not been made available to Congress as required under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act,” Cotton and Pompeo wrote in a letter to Kerry today. “While we find third- or fourth-hand briefings on a matter of such importance unacceptable, you and your team have consistently said that the administration has extensive knowledge of these side deals. In fact, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on July 28, ‘We know their contents and we’re satisfied with them.’ Therefore, we fully expect you will be able to provide thorough written answers to several important issues that have recently arisen.”

The side deals pertain, among other things, to inspections of the Parchin military site, where Iran is believed to have conducted nuclear weapons research and developed intercontinental ballistic missile technology. Cotton and Pompeo reminded Kerry that in April, State Department spokesman Marie Harf said, “We would find it, I think, very difficult to imagine [an Iran deal] that did not require such access at Parchin.”

#related#In the event, Kerry deferred to the IAEA. “They were originally intended to be part of the primary agreement but could not be done that way,” Pompeo told NR in July. “When Kerry allowed the IAEA to carry the mantle the Iranians must have interpreted that as, ‘Hey, we can drive a truck through this thing, because now we know the United States is going to turn its head and allow this deal to go through without even looking at the words on the paper.’”

— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.

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