I wrote yesterday on NRO how Associated Press writer George Jahn was slammed by Iran-deal supporters for the accuracy of his August 19 article that provided details of a how Iran will collect nuclear samples for the IAEA under a secret side deal to the agreement. Supporters claimed the AP withdrew parts of the story because a statement by IAEA Director General proved it was false.
The AP initially responded by saying it published an abbreviated version of Jahn’s article for space reasons and reissued the full text of Jahn’s original story. Late yesterday, the AP went one step further by posting the below transcript of the side deal.
Separate arrangement II agreed by the Islamic State of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency on 11 July 2015, regarding the Road-map, Paragraph 5
Iran and the Agency agreed on the following sequential arrangement with regard to the Parchin issue:
1. Iran will provide to the Agency photos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.
2. Iran will provide to the Agency videos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.
3. Iran will provide to the Agency 7 environmental samples taken from points inside one building already identified by the Agency and agreed by Iran, and 2 points outside of the Parchin complex which would be agreed between Iran and the Agency.
4. The Agency will ensure the technical authenticity of the activities referred to in paragraphs 1-3 above. Activities will be carried out using Iran’s authenticated equipment, consistent with technical specifications provided by the Agency, and the Agency’s containers and seals.
5. The above mentioned measures would be followed, as a courtesy by Iran, by a public visit of the Director General, as a dignitary guest of the Government of Iran, accompanied by his deputy for safeguards.
6. Iran and the Agency will organize a one-day technical roundtable on issues relevant to Parchin.
For the International Atomic Energy Agency: Tero Varjoranta, Deputy Director General for Safeguards
For the Islamic Republic of Iran: Ali Hoseini Tash, Deputy Secretary of Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs
The AP explained it was not allowed to have a copy of this side deal but was permitted to transcribe the entire text. AP said two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that this text does not differ from the final version agreed to between Iran and the IAEA.
Some reactions to the release of the text of the side deal:
First, the Associated Press deserves credit for taking this step to validate Jahn’s article. I assume there was strong pressure on the AP from the Obama administration and the IAEA to drop this story.
Second, the side-deal text confirms all the major points in Jahn’s article: Iran will collect samples at the Parchin military base, Iran will provide the IAEA with photos and videos of locations at Parchin, and it will use its own collection equipment authenticated by the IAEA.
Third, there is one minor factual difference between Jahn’s story and the side deal text: his article said no areas outside of a Parchin building would be sampled; the side-deal text says samples will be collected from two areas outside the building agreed to by Iran and the IAEA. I’m not troubled by this since Jahn apparently took notes on the side deal document but did not transcribe its full text.
Fourth, the text released by the IAEA only addresses Parchin, but Jahn said Iranians would collect samples for the IAEA at other sites as well. I assume Jahn wrote this based on congressional hearings on the Iran deal held last month.
Fifth, the Jahn story did not mention that IAEA Director General Amano and his Deputy for Safeguards will visit Parchin as a “dignitary guest” or that Iran and the IAEA will arrange a “one-day technical roundtable on issues relevant to Parchin.” These details are significant because they have nothing to do with the objective collection of samples at Parchin and appear to be public-relations stunts to close the IAEA’s file on Parchin.
The AP probably released the text of the side deal in response to an effort by supporters of the Iran nuclear agreement to discredit Jahn’s story by claiming it was revised because of inaccuracies and exaggerations. The text of the side deal confirms Jahn’s article and my Corner follow-up on it yesterday; it indicates a “preposterous and unserious plan to investigate past and ongoing Iranian nuclear-weapons-related activities.”