AP: U.N. letting Iran do its own nuclear inspections


(JTA) — Iran has a secret agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency enabling it to choose its own experts to inspect its Parchin nuclear site.

In a finding that could have implications for the nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, The Associated Press reported Wednesday that it had obtained a document outlining a “separate side agreement worked out between [the United Nations agency] and Iran.”

While the United States and the five other world powers that negotiated the Iran nuclear deal were “not party to this agreement,” they “were briefed on it by the IAEA and endorsed it as part of the larger package,” the AP reported.

Under the agreement, the IAEA allows Iran “to employ its own experts and equipment in the search for evidence or activities that it has consistently denied — trying to develop nuclear weapons,” the article said.

While the document obtained by the AP is a draft, and not the final version of the agreement, one official familiar with its contents told the news service it “doesn’t differ substantially from the final version.”

Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal in Israel and the United States quickly responded to the report.

While the White House declined to comment on the reported document, according to the Times of Israel, Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said sarcastically, “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?”

He was referring to a section in the nuclear deal that gives Iran 24-days notice prior to inspections of its undeclared nuclear sites.

“This side agreement shows that true verification is a sham, and it begs the question of what else the administration is keeping from Congress,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the House majority leader, said, according to the Times of Israel.

John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican senator, said, “Trusting Iran to inspect its own nuclear site and report to the U.N. 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.”

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