Thursday, August 20, 2015
Obama's Nuclear Farce
UN to Let Iran Inspect Themselves - George Jahn
Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms, operating under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press.
Iran is to provide agency experts with photos and videos of locations the IAEA says are linked to the alleged weapons work, "taking into account military concerns." That wording suggests that — beyond being barred from physically visiting the site — the agency won't get photo or video information from areas Iran says are off-limits because they have military significance.
The revelation riled lawmakers who have been severely critical of a broader agreement to limit Iran's future nuclear programs, signed by the Obama administration. Those critics have complained that the wider deal is unwisely built on trust of the Iranians, while the administration has insisted it depends on reliable inspections.
A skeptical House Speaker John Boehner said, "President Obama boasts his deal includes 'unprecedented verification.' He claims it's not built on trust.
Said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce: "International inspections should be done by international inspectors. Period."
The newly disclosed side agreement, for an investigation of the Parchin nuclear site by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, is linked to persistent allegations that Iran has worked on atomic weapons. That investigation is part of the overarching nuclear-limits deal.
Evidence of the inspections concession is sure to increase pressure from U.S. congressional opponents before a Senate vote of disapproval on the overall agreement in early September.
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."
Olli Heinonen, who was in charge of the Iran probe as deputy IAEA director general from 2005 to 2010, said he could think of no similar concession with any other country.
The document is labeled "separate arrangement II," indicating there is another confidential agreement between Iran and the IAEA governing the agency's probe of the nuclear weapons allegations.
Why the Iran Side Deal Is Important - Armin Rosen
In the IAEA investigation of the military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program, Iran will be allowed to use its own experts to inspect Parchin, a military facility where detonators for a nuclear bomb may have been tested in 2003.
Aaron Stein of the Royal United Services Institute has noted that the AP story on the IAEA-Iran side deal is important for what it suggests about the overall effectiveness of the international effort to investigate the extent of Iran's nuclear weaponization work, since the IAEA was "using Iranian language" in framing how disclosure issues would be settled.
Iran's Secret Self-Inspections - Editorial
IAEA has sought access to Parchin for more than a decade, and U.S. officials have said the deal requires Iran to come clean about Parchin.
Now, the country that lied for years about its nuclear weapons program will be trusted to come clean about those lies.
The news raises further doubts about a nuclear pact that is already leaking credibility. Unfettered access to Parchin is crucial to understanding Iran's past nuclear work. Without understanding how close Iran has come to getting the bomb, it's impossible to know if Iran really is a year or more away from having the bomb.
(Wall Street Journal)
The U.S. Changed the Objective - Emily B. Landau & Shimon Stein
[D]uring the course of 2014-2015, the Obama administration's position on the ultimate goal of the negotiation seems to have shifted, from largely dismantling Iran's nuclear program to trying to manage it. It is when Obama's speech to an AIPAC gathering promising that his policy is one of prevention, not containment, began to ring hollow.
(Institute for National Security Studies)
Inspection Farce Puts Democrats to the Test - Jonathan Tobin
[T]his shocking news about Iran being able to conduct its own inspections gives the lie to every assurance that the administration has made about verification. It is now clear that the entire process is a sham and that negotiators were instructed to accept any conditions, no matter how ludicrous in order to give the president the deal wanted at any price.
For those so blinded by partisan loyalty or indifference to the threat poses to the U.S., Israel and the rest of the Middle East, that may not make a difference. But for any senators or representatives — including those who have already said they would vote the deal — this is a moment when all deceptions are stripped away. A vote for the agreement can no longer be defended on the grounds that the verification procedures will allow the administration to know when Iran is cheating. A vote for it now is a vote for a future with an Iranian bomb and all the dangers and possible horrors that phrase entails.
Are there any Democrats left with a conscience that are brave enough to defy the president? We’re about to find out.