According to the Obama administration, there are no secret side deals to the nuclear agreement with Iran. And if there are, it’s not true that Iran will be inspecting itself.
And even if Iran will be inspecting itself, the side deals are a separate arrangement and not part of the nuclear deal, and the issue they’re intended to address — past Iranian nuclear weapons work — doesn’t matter.
What’s going on here?
First, we know there are secret side deals that were not mentioned in the Obama administration’s rollout of the Iran nuclear agreement. The administration provided classified (that is, secret) briefings on the side deals to Congress during the week of July 20, in which it claimed that U.S. diplomats have been briefed on the side deal documents but have not seen them.
Obama officials told Congress that the side deals are routine International Atomic Energy Agency arrangements that were being briefed in a classified setting because they are confidential agreements between the IAEA and Iran.
So if the side deals are secret, from whom are they being kept secret? The U.S. Congress, apparently. According to an Aug. 18 Washington Free Beacon story, Iran sent a letter to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano threatening him with physical harm if he revealed information about the side deals in meetings with members of Congress during a visit to Washington.
Why are these agreements secret?, you may ask. The reason appears to be that they are not routine IAEA agreements but an unprecedented scheme under which Iran will inspect itself to collect evidence of the “possible military dimensions” (PMD) of its nuclear program.
Resolving the PMD issue is crucial for verification of the Iran deal by establishing a baseline of Iran’s nuclear weapons-related activities.
The Obama administration and its supporters are trying to deflect the side deals story by downplaying these agreements as irrelevant and unimportant. These are telling arguments, since they go to the heart of why the secret side deals came about.
The appearance of secret side deals on the PMD issue was surprising, since Secretary of State John Kerry said in April that this issue would be addressed in the final nuclear agreement. He reportedly tried and failed to resolve this issue with an offer to Iranian officials in late May or early June.
After Iran rejected this offer, Kerry started saying that resolving the PMD issue was unimportant because it involved issues of the past. Kerry also made the following incredible statement on June 16: “We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they (Iran) were engaged in.”
Former U.S. intelligence officials strongly disputed this claim.
It’s too coincidental that, after Kerry could not resolve the PMD issue during the nuclear talks, they appeared in secret side deals between the IAEA and Iran as part of a bizarre plan barring the IAEA access to PMD-related nuclear sites and using Iranians to collect nuclear samples.
What’s even more suspicious is that a first draft of a side deal document shown to the Associated Press had several peculiarities suggesting that it was not drafted by the IAEA or Iran.
Because the AP says two officials assured that the draft is genuine and almost identical to the final version, I believe the peculiarities indicate that the document was written by a third party who is a foreign policy amateur, possibly an aide to Kerry or someone in the Obama National Security Council.
This makes sense because the side deals are almost certainly a U.S. initiative to quietly drop the PMD issue by separating it from the nuclear agreement and placing it in a secret IAEA-Iran agreement that the American people and Congress cannot see.
As such, the side deals violate the requirements of the Corker-Cardin bill (the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act), which requires that the administration provide to Congress all documents associated with the Iran nuclear agreement — including all side agreements.
The secret side deals amount to national security fraud by the Obama administration. There are many reasons for members of Congress to vote against the Iran deal, but it’s hard to see how anyone in Congress can vote for it in light of this deliberate attempt by the Obama administration to conceal from Congress its effort to drop a crucial benchmark needed to verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement.
Originally posted at Investors Business Daily