An important part of the P5+1 agreement is that Iran is supposed to come clean about its past nuclear weapons programs. The IAEA and the six negotiators must know where Iran was to understand where inspections are needed under the deal.
The Wall Street Journal got ahold of the report on the deal the Obama administration sent to congress to comply with the Corker legislation. Among other things the report shows the Obama completely collapsed on the demand that Iran ‘fess up’ about it’s nuclear history.
The documents included classified and unclassified sections on the verification process that will be used to ensure Iran is abiding by the agreement. The package also includes a section on Iran’s future nuclear research and development plans.
On Iran’s alleged past weapons work, the Obama administration said it concluded: “An Iranian admission of its past nuclear weapons program is unlikely and is not necessary for purposes of verifying commitments going forward,” said a copy of the assessment viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
“U.S. confidence on this front is based in large part on what we believe we already know about Iran’s past activities,” the report said. “The United States has shared with the IAEA the relevant information, and crafted specific measures that will enable inspectors to establish confidence that previously reported Iranian [weaponization] activities are not ongoing.”
A month before the deal was announced the State Department was saying this information was important. John Kirby, State SPOX said on June 17 2015:
And again, I’d tell you that that interpretation of his comments is incorrect. Let me, if I could, read to you what he actually said to you in your question: ‘On something like possible military dimensions’ – this is from yesterday – ‘the JPOA refers to that and says that it’s got to be addressed in the context of the final product. And that remains true; it has to be. And we have to resolve our questions about it with specificity. Access is very, very critical. It’s always been critical from day one; it remains critical. And we defined that at Lausanne, and those are sorts of fundamental outlines, if you will.’ Within that context, there is leeway to define further certain things, but not this one.
This echoed previous commitments made by negotiator Wendy Sherman and Secretary Kerry.
Wendy Sherman said on Feb 4 2014:
We raised possible military dimensions…. in the Joint Plan of Action, we have required that Iran come clean on its past actions as part of any comprehensive agreement in three very critical ways… First… we expect, indeed, Parchin to be resolved…. Secondly, the plan says before the final step, there would be additional steps in the — in between the initial measure and the final step, including addressing the U.N. Security Council resolutions, which require… dealing with issues of past (ph) concerns.”
And Kerry said on April 8 of this year: “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal; it will be done.”
The U.S. and IAEA say the process will be credible and promise that sanctions won’t be lifted if Iran doesn’t cooperate in the probe. But analysts warn that political pressure on IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and the IAEA to resolve the past weaponization issue was immense, because the deal can’t be implemented without solving that issue. And Iran is already balking at the investigation.
Iranian officials in recent days have disputed the U.S. position that sanctions can be lifted only after the issue is addressed.
Ali Akbar Salehi, chief of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran, told state media last week that the IAEA’s investigation was independent of the broader deal.
Another part of this investigation is the soil sampling at Parchin, a military site where intelligence experts believe explosive devices for nuclear weapons were tested. Senators were angry the deal allowed Iran to take its own soil samples, after all its almost like allowing a murderer to investigate the scene of his own crime:
“We’re going to trust Iran to do their own testing? This is absolutely ludicrous,” Sen.James Risch (R., Idaho) told Obama administration officials at a congressional hearing last week.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) said: “Chain of custody means nothing if, at the very beginning, what you’re given is chosen and derived by the perpetrator. If that is true, it would be the equivalent of the fox guarding the chicken coop.”
The administration now claims they know everything they have to know about Iran’s nuke program.
[Kerry] declared that “the possible military dimensions, frankly, gets distorted a little bit in some of the discussion, in that we’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in.”
But that’s not really true as the WSJ reports:
Former U.S. intelligence officials have questioned White House claims that it already knows enough about Iran’s overall program to ensure the Vienna agreement is properly verified.
They said the U.S. and IAEA initially failed to detect major advances in Iran’s nuclear program, such as the construction of a uranium enrichment facility in the city of Natanz and a heavy water reactor in Arak.
The Washington Institute agrees:
Unfortunately, the issue is not that simple. Weaponization research is easily concealed, so Washington cannot conclude that it knows everything about such efforts without a full accounting from Iran — barring such disclosure, America’s ability to catch future weaponization research will be limited.
The de facto dropping of the demand that Iran disclose past nuclear activity is just one more way that the Iran deal is not doing what it promised.