- IAEA to allow Iran to do its own inspection of site linked to nuclear weapons work, gutting verification
The Associated Press confirmed on Wednesday that Iran will be allowed to conduct its own inspection of Parchin, a military site where the IAEA and intelligence agencies believe Iran engaged in experiments related to the development of nuclear weapons. The provision is part of a confidential side agreement to the nuclear deal that details how Iran will clarify the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of its nuclear program. Iran has for years stonewalled the IAEA and refused to provide the agency with access to sites, people, and information related to the PMDs of its nuclear program. There is evidence that shows that Iran has engaged in efforts to conceal its activities in Parchin. Just two weeks ago, American intelligence revealed that Iran was again engaged in activity aimed at sanitizing the site.
The Obama administration has repeatedly claimed that the deal is based on verification, not trust. However, according to the AP report, IAEA inspectors will be barred from physically accessing Parchin, and Iran will be allowed to conduct its own environmental sampling. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has often stated that the deal “is built on the most intrusive set of inspections that have ever been imposed on a country’s nuclear program.” However, according to the AP, the arrangement “diverges from normal inspection procedures between the IAEA and a member country by essentially ceding the agency's investigative authority to Iran. It allows Tehran to employ its own experts and equipment in the search for evidence for activities that it has consistently denied — trying to develop nuclear weapons.” Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director-General of the IAEA, stated that he knew of no other instance in which a country under scrutiny was allowed to conduct its own investigation. The president of the Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright, has similarly called this arrangement “unprecedented and risky.”
The IAEA board, which includes the U.S., is widely expected to accept the IAEA’s report on PMDs and provide the regime with sanctions relief, regardless of whether Iran provides sufficient information and comes clean on its past weapons work. Last month The Wall Street Journal revealed that the administration believes that Iranian disclosure “is unlikely and is not necessary for purposes of verifying commitments going forward.” However Albright has warned that “ambiguity over Iran’s nuclear weaponization accomplishments and residual capabilities risks rendering an agreement unverifiable by the IAEA.”
Russia will complete a deal, as early as next week, to sell the sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran despite longstanding American objections, Fox News reported today.An American defense official told Fox News that the S-300 “is a very capable weapons system that can bring down U.S. or Israeli jet aircraft.” It is believed that the missiles will be used to protect Iran’s nuclear facilities and may be deployed in an offensive capacity.
Russia originally agreed to sell the S-300 system to Iran in 2007, yet agreed to a moratorium on the sale after the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 in 2010. In April of this year, Russia announced that it would no longer observe the moratorium. A week later, however, Russia said it would not deliver the systems in the near future.
It was reported recently that Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – Qods Force, traveled to Russia last month in violation of existing international travel bans, which were imposed on him due to the IRGC’s extensive involvement in terrorist activities.
According to the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), European and United Nations sanctions on Suleimani will be lifted after eight years. Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Barbero called the lifting of sanctions on the commander a “shameful betrayal” of the hundreds of American servicemen who were killed and injured in Iraq during attacks orchestrated by Suleimani and his allies. (via TheTower.org)