In an odd twist to the Iran nuclear deal saga, it was reported Wednesday that Iran will be allowed to use its own experts to conduct inspections of a site where it allegedly developed nuclear weapons.
The Associated Press viewed a secret document
that explains the policy, which will surely add fuel to the fire of negativity surrounding the deal.
Critics of the Iran deal say Iran got what it wanted, and the agreement will not do much to deter the country from developing a nuclear weapon.
The portion of the agreement pertaining to the inspection of the Parchin nuclear site is a separate side deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The United States and the five other countries that signed the Iran agreement, called the P5+1, were not involved in the side deal regarding the Parchin site, the AP reports.
The Iran deal was agreed upon last month and is now in the hands of Congress, which is expected to vote it up or down next month. The Obama administration is working overtime to convince lawmakers they should vote in favor of the agreement so it can be implemented.
The White House has denied claims by critics that a secret "side deal" favorable to Tehran exists. Sec. of State John Kerry has said the Parchin document is like other routine arrangements between the agency and individual IAEA member nations, while IAEA chief Yukiya Amano told Republican senators last week that he is obligated to keep the document confidential.
Iran has refused access to Parchin for years and has denied any interest in — or work on — nuclear weapons. Based on American, Israeli, and other intelligence and its own research, the IAEA suspects that the Islamic Republic may have experimented with high-explosive detonators for nuclear arms at that military facility and other weapons-related work elsewhere.
The IAEA has repeatedly cited evidence, based on satellite images, of possible attempts to sanitize the site since the alleged work stopped more than a decade ago.
The side deal involving the Parchin site will involve Iranian-chosen inspectors investigating the site while the IAEA monitors from afar. Further, Iran will not allow the IAEA to see any photos or videos from areas of the site it deems off-limits.
Nearly 100 lawmakers sent President Barack Obama a letter
earlier this month, asking for copies of the side deals that were added to the Iran agreement.
Meanwhile, one of the lead negotiators for the deal — Wendy Sherman, the undersecretary of state for political affairs — recently said she never saw the final draft
of the Iran agreement, only rough drafts.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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