- Nuclear inspectors will not have access to all sites as Iran moves to sanitize Parchin military base
The lead U.S. negotiator of the Iran nuclear deal, Wendy Sherman, indicated to Congress on Wednesday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors will not have physical access to every nuclear and military site to verify Iran’s compliance with the final deal. When pressed by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), she declared, “You know, you don't have to be physically present on every site in this technological world to get done what is necessary. Our labs can walk you through those parameters as well.”
Under Secretary Sherman’s admission comes at the same time that Bloomberg View revealed that the intelligence community told members of Congress that in the days following the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 global powers, Iran began sanitizing one of its military facilities, Parchin, which has long been suspected to be the site of illicit atomic work. Eli Lake and Josh Rogin wrote that intelligence estimates “showed that Iran had moved bulldozers and other heavy machinery to the Parchin site and that the U.S. intelligence community concluded with high confidence that the Iranian government was working to clean up the site ahead of planned inspections by the IAEA.” Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) told Rogin and Lake: “I have concerns about the vigorous efforts by Iran to sanitize Parchin.” During the hearing, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told members of the Banking Committee to go to the intel area -- “you ought to see what Iran is doing today, while we're sitting here, in Parchin.”
During the negotiations, the IAEA signed side agreements with Iran that detail how it will resolve the IAEA’s outstanding concerns over the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the IAEA must certify that Iran has taken steps to resolve those unanswered questions. However, the agreements were not made public nor has Congress been allowed to review the text. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed frustration over not having access to the documents.
Rep. Ed Royce (R – Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a resolution to disapprove of the nuclear deal reached between the P5+1 nations and Iran, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – Ky.) said that the Senate will also likely vote on a resolution to reject the nuclear agreement.
I wish the Obama Administration had negotiated a verifiable, enforceable, and accountable agreement. While a tremendous amount of effort was put into these negotiations, the result falls well short of this standard. That’s the only conclusion I can come to after dozens of hearings with independent experts who have expressed extreme misgivings about this deal, especially the lifting of the arms embargo on Iran’s ICBM program. The agreement gives Iran permanent sanctions relief, but in exchange only temporarily restrains Iran’s nuclear program.
If this agreement goes through, Iran gets a cash bonanza, a boost to its international standing, and a lighted path toward nuclear weapons. By granting sweeping sanctions relief, we have lessened our ability to challenge Iran’s conduct across the board. As Iran grows stronger, we will be weaker to respond.
Yes, passage of this legislation would roil some diplomatic waters. But the U.S. still wields the most powerful economic sanctions in the world – sanctions Iran desperately needs relief from – sanctions that would continue to deter countries and companies from investing in Iran.
I do not relish in introducing this consequential legislation. But the consequences for global security from this agreement are too great. This deal gives up too much, too fast, to a terrorist state – making the world less safe, less secure, and less stable.
Royce’s statement comes a day after Rep. Peter Roskam (R – Ill.) announced that he had gathered enough votes to pass a resolution “expressing disapproval of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to by the P5+1 and Iran.”
Time is not the friend of this deal. The more time Members spend evaluating this agreement, the more they realize it’s an historic mistake. While the Administration continues to flaunt a false choice between this deal and war, Secretary Kerry said repeatedly over the course of the negotiations that he would walk away from a bad deal. If that was the case, then surely there was an alternative besides this dangerous agreement and war. Congress and the American people believe a better agreement is still achievable, and we can start by walking away from this one. This is why a majority of the House is prepared to vote against this deal. We will do everything in our power to stop an accord that so utterly fails to shut down Iran’s nuclear program.
Roskam’s observation that the more time Representatives spend reviewing the deal, the more “they realize it’s an historic mistake,” comports with polling done by The Israel Project, which shows that the more voters learn about the deal, the less they support it.
In addition to Republicans, who have a majority in the House, a number of Democrats have gone on record opposing the deal, including Juan Vargas (D – Calif.), Grace Meng (D – N.Y.), Albio Sires (D – N.J.), Kathleen Rice (D – N.Y.) and Ted Deutch (D – Fla.), the Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (via TheTower.org)