Posted tagged ‘Parchin’

US seeks to test Iran deal with its new inspections

July 27, 2017

US seeks to test Iran deal with its new inspections, Times of IsraelJosh Lederman and Matthew Lee, July 27, 2017

(It may be significant that Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon, rather than Secretary of State Tillerson, was sent to discuss the proposal with European members of the European Commission monitoring the “deal.” — DM)

US President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 26, 2017. (AFP/SAUL LOEB)

Trump faces another certification deadline in three months, and it’s far from clear that either new inspections or any “fixes” to address whether his concerns will be in place by then. Trump told the Wall Street Journal this week he expects to say Iran isn’t complying, setting a high bar for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other aides to persuade him otherwise.

“If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago,” Trump said.

************************************

A refusal by Tehran to allow monitors in military sites could give Trump the excuse he wants to cancel the nuclear agreement.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is pushing for inspections of suspicious Iranian military sites in a bid to test the strength of the nuclear deal that US President Donald Trump desperately wants to cancel, senior US officials said.

The inspections are one element of what is designed to be a more aggressive approach to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. While the Trump administration seeks to police the existing deal more strictly, it is also working to fix what Trump’s aides have called “serious flaws” in the landmark deal that — if not resolved quickly — will likely lead Trump to pull out.

That effort also includes discussions with European countries to negotiate a follow-up agreement to prevent Iran from resuming nuclear development after the deal’s restrictions expire in about a decade, the officials said. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the efforts publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The inspections requests, which Iran would likely resist, could play heavily into Trump’s much-anticipated decision about whether to stick with the deal he’s long derided.

If Iran refuses inspections, Trump would finally have a solid basis to say Iran is breaching the deal, setting up Tehran to take most of the blame if the agreement collapses. If Iran agrees to inspections, those in Trump’s administration who want to preserve the deal would be emboldened to argue it’s advancing US national security effectively.

The campaign gained fresh urgency this month following a dramatic clash within the administration about whether to certify Iran’s compliance, as is required every 90 days.

Trump was eager to declare Tehran in violation, even though the International Atomic Energy Agency that monitors compliance says its infractions are minor. At the urging of top Cabinet members, Trump begrudgingly agreed at the last-minute to avoid a showdown for another three months — but only with assurances the US would increase pressure on Iran to test whether the deal is truly capable of addressing its nuclear ambitions and other troublesome activities.

Trump faces another certification deadline in three months, and it’s far from clear that either new inspections or any “fixes” to address whether his concerns will be in place by then. Trump told the Wall Street Journal this week he expects to say Iran isn’t complying, setting a high bar for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other aides to persuade him otherwise.

“If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago,” Trump said.

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) heads into the Senate Chamber at the US Capitol, in Washington DC, July 26, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

To that end, the administration is seeking to force Iran to let in IAEA inspectors to military sites where the US intelligence community believes the Islamic Republic may be cheating on the deal, several officials said.

Access to Iran’s military sites was one of the most contentious issues in the 2015 deal, in which Tehran agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

Last week in Vienna, where the International Atomic Energy Agency is based, Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon floated the proposal to the European members of the Joint Commission that oversees the deal, one official said. Britain, France and Germany joined the US, Russia, China and the European Union two years ago in brokering the deal with Iran.

To force inspections of new sites in Iran, the US would need to enlist the support of the IAEA and a majority of the countries in the deal. But the US has run into early resistance over concerns it has yet to produce a “smoking gun” — compelling evidence of illicit activity at a military site that the IAEA could use to justify inspections, officials said.

Among the concerns about a rush toward inspections is that if they fail to uncover evidence of violations, it would undermine the IAEA’s credibility and its ability to demand future inspections. So the US is working to produce foolproof intelligence about illicit activity, officials said. The officials declined to describe the intelligence activities or the Iranian sites the US believes are involved.

Senator Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, alluded to the strategy during an event hosted Wednesday by The Washington Post. Corker said the US was trying to “radically enforce” the deal by asking for access to “various facilities” in Iran.

“If they don’t let us in, boom,” Corker said. “You want the breakup of this deal to be about Iran. You don’t want it to be about the US, because we want our allies with us.”

As a candidate, Trump threatened to rip up the deal that US President Barack Obama brokered. As president, Trump has yet to take that step, as his administration finishes a broader Iran policy review expected to conclude in August.

Satellite image of the Parchin facility, April 2012 (AP/Institute for Science and International Security)

The other major step to try and address what Trump has deemed flaws in the deal involves ensuring that Iran can’t revert to old behavior once the limitations on its program “sunset” over the next decade-plus. The US State Department said Trump has directed his administration to “work with allies to explore options” for dealing with that and other shortcomings. Talks are under way with the European countries about a supplemental deal, though it’s unclear how Iran could be persuaded to sign on.

The deal’s provisions for inspections of military facilities, or “undeclared sites,” involve a complex process with plenty of opportunities for Iran to stall. Tehran can propose alternatives to on-site inspections, or reject the request, which would trigger a 24-day process for the Joint Commission countries to override the rejection.

That could drag on for months. And under ambiguities built into the deal, it’s unclear whether Iran must allow IAEA inspectors into military sites, or whether the Iranians can take their own environmental samples and send them to the IAEA for testing, as was allowed under a 2015 side agreement that let Iran use its own experts to inspect the Parchin military site.

Even if Trump declares Iran in violation of the deal — a move that would invigorate his conservative base — he could still leave Iran’s sanctions relief in place.

American businesses are eager for the deal to survive so they can pursue lucrative opportunities in Iran. The aviation industry recently signed billions of dollars of contracts to sell passenger plans to Iranian airlines, including a $16.6 billion deal for Boeing.

Obama Administration Admits Iran Worked on Nuclear Weapons

June 20, 2016

The Obama Administration says two radioactive particles found at Parchin prove Iran was working on nuclear weapons, at least in the past.

By: Hana Levi Julian

Published: June 20th, 2016

Source: The Jewish Press » » Obama Administration Admits Iran Worked on Nuclear Weapons

The Parchin military complex
Photo Credit: Institute for Science and International Security

The Obama Administration has belatedly come to the realization that Iran really was working on a nuclear weapon of mass destruction, just as Israeli and other intelligence sources said prior to the signing of the nuclear pact with Tehran in 2015. Current and former government officials told the Wall Street Journal that the administration has concluded radioactive particles discovered last year were tied to an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Two man-made uranium particles discovered in soil samples at the Parchin facility southeast of Tehran by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency were too small to confirm exactly what kind of nuclear weapons work took place at the site. But they were big enough to make it clear that nuclear weapons-related activity was indeed going on there.

Iranian explanations for their presence — chemical storage for use in developing conventional weapons — were not supported by the evidence of satellite imagery and test results.

The issue was raised in an article written by Jay Solomon for the Wall Street Journal, in which the Obama administration was said to have underlined the discovery mentioned in a 16-page December 2015 report by the IAEA indisputably points to an Iranian weapons program, contradicting denials by Tehran.

On Saturday an Iranian government spokesman in fact denied uranian was found at Parchin, WSJ reported, adding the spokesman quoted a 2005 IAEA report that found no “unusual activities” there.

The terms of the pact signed by Iran with the six world powers last July required Tehran to address the evidence compiled by the IAEA showing that Iran had a program to create a nuclear weapon of mass destruction until at least 2003. Iranian officials repeatedly denied the charge.

In exchange for suspending its nuclear technology activities for a 10-year period, Iran would receive the $150 billion that had been held in frozen assets in addition to international sanctions being rolled back.

Now that Iran is receiving all those benefits, however, Tehran’s lies are also becoming clear. And the critics of the deal who were opposing it from the start are citing this latest news as confirmation that opposition of the deal was justified, and that Obama didn’t go far enough in his demands that Iran come clean on its nuclear activities before lifting sanctions in January.

Evidence of the man-made uranium that was found at Parchin has only low levels of fissionable isotopes, according to WSJ. But this can be used as a substitute for weapons-grade materials in the development of nuclear bombs and can also be used as a component in a neutron initiator — a triggering device for a nuclear weapon, WSJ reported.

But now the IAEA is blocked from any further investigation of the Parchin site, thanks to the deal signed last year. And although the deal forces Iran to allow the agency access to “all” suspected nuclear technology sites, that does not include Iranian military sites — where the weaponry is most likely to be developed.

Iran’s supreme leader: No nuclear deal unless sanctions fully lifted

September 4, 2015

Iran’s supreme leader: No nuclear deal unless sanctions fully lifted, Israel Hayom, Erez Linn, Shlomo Cesana, Yoni Hersch, Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff, September 4, 2015

144135927674638061a_bSupreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting with members of Iran’s Experts Assembly in Tehran | Photo credit: AP

If Khamenei decides to make good on his word and demand the lifting of sanctions entirely, it will not be possible to implement the snapback mechanism and reimpose sanctions should Iran violate its obligations under the deal.

******************

Iran’s supreme leader said Thursday that “there will be no deal” if world powers insist on suspending rather than lifting sanctions as part of a landmark nuclear agreement and said it is up to Iran’s parliament, and not him, to approve or reject it.

His remarks, read aloud by a state TV anchorman, mark the first official comment on the deal since U.S. President Barack Obama secured enough support to prevent the Republican-led Congress from blocking it.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has yet to express a clear opinion on the deal, clinched in July, which would curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.

Khamenei said some U.S. officials have spoken of the “suspension” of sanctions, which he said was unacceptable. “If the sanctions are going to be suspended, then we will also fulfil our obligations on the ground at the level of suspension and not in a fundamental way,” he said.

In response, White House press secretary Josh Earnest reiterated the Obama administration’s stance that it would focus on Tehran’s actions and not its words.

Washington has been “crystal clear about the fact that Iran will have to take a variety of serious steps to significantly roll back their nuclear program before any sanction relief is offered,” he said.

However, the snapback plan (reimposing economic sanctions on Iran if it violates the deal), which Iran agreed to as part of the deal, could lose its validation as it is based on the suspension of the sanctions rather than a full removal.

If Khamenei decides to make good on his word and demand the lifting of sanctions entirely, it will not be possible to implement the snapback mechanism and reimpose sanctions should Iran violate its obligations under the deal.

Iran’s supreme leader has traditionally had the final say on all important matters in the country, but on Thursday Khamenei said that Iran’s parliament, the Majlis, known to oppose the agreement, should decide on the deal.

“It is the representatives of the people who should decide. I have no advice regarding the method of review, approval or rejection,” he said.

Either way, according to a Revolutionary Guard senior official, the deal does not detract one bit from the Iranian regime’s rancor toward Israel. “The Islamic revolution will continue to enhance its abilities until it will destroy Israel and liberate Palestine,” he said.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Foreign Ministry officials that most Americans agreed with Israel over dangers posed by Iran. In remarks at a Rosh Hashanah reception at the Foreign Ministry, Netanyahu made no direct mention of President Barack Obama’s victory on Wednesday in securing enough Senate votes to protect the agreement in Congress.

Speaking of a need to preserve Israel’s traditionally close ties with Washington despite what he called “differences of opinion,” Netanyahu told diplomatic staffers: “I must say, however, that the overwhelming majority of the American public sees eye to eye with us on the danger emanating from Iran.”

Israel’s message to ordinary Americans, Netanyahu said, would continue to be that “Iran is the enemy of the United States — it declares that openly — and Israel is a U.S. ally.”

Netanyahu explained that the “ratio of people who oppose the deal to people who support the deal in the U.S. is two to one.”

Ensuring the U.S. public understands that point will have “important ramifications for our security down the line,” Netanyahu said, according to an official statement.

Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold, meanwhile, revealed that Iran was transferring advanced weapons from arms depots in Syria to Hezbollah.

Speaking to Israel Hayom, Gold explained that the Iranians want to provide the Shiite terrorist organization with cruise missiles, Yakhont missiles and S2 land-based strategic missile.

Hezbollah’s activity, backed by Iran, has reached Kuwait and is evident in the Golan Heights, as seen in their attempts to launch another battle front with Israel.”

Gold also touched on Iran’s Parchin nuclear facility, saying that the Iranians had paved the floor of the facility with asphalt. He explained that the purpose of the move was to prevent International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors from testing the soil for dangerous substances.

Meanwhile, tensions are running high surrounding the approaching vote in the U.S. Congress. The Wall Street Journal published on Thursday a caustic article, warning the Democratic Party that if the nuclear deal fails, it will be their fault. “Politically, Obama’s victory in Congress makes Democrats hostage to Iran’s behavior. This means that if a nuclear arms race breaks out in the Middle East, democrats are accountable,” the article said.

U.N. Nuclear Watchdog: Iran May Have Built Extension at Disputed Military Site

August 27, 2015

U.N. Nuclear Watchdog: Iran May Have Built Extension at Disputed Military Site, Washington Free Beacon, August 27, 2015

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano addresses a news conference after a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, June 8, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/Files

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano addresses a news conference after a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, June 8, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/Files

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran appears to have built an extension to part of its Parchin military site since May, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report on Thursday delving into a major part of its inquiry into possible military dimensions to Tehran’s past atomic activity.

A resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Parchin file, which includes a demand for IAEA access to the site, is a symbolically important issue that could help make or break Tehran’s July 14 nuclear deal with six world powers.

The confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said:

“Since (our) previous report (in May), at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building appears to have constructed.”

Diplomats say any activities Iran has undertaken at Parchin since 2012 are likely to have undermined the agency’s ability to verify intelligence suggesting Tehran previously conducted tests there relevant to nuclear bomb detonations.

Under a “roadmap” accord Iran reached with the IAEA parallel to its groundbreaking deal with the global powers, the Islamic Republic is required to give the Vienna-based watchdog enough information about its past nuclear activity to allow to write a report on the long vexed issue by year-end.

“Full and timely implementation of the relevant parts of the road-map is essential to clarify issues relating to this location at Parchin,” the new IAEA report said.

Iran has for years been stonewalling the PMD investigation but delivered on a promise under the roadmap to provide more information by Aug. 15.

IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said on Tuesday that the agency had received substantive amounts of information from Iran although it was too early to say whether any of it is new.

Inspector Clouseau was unavailable (4)

August 22, 2015

Inspector Clouseau was unavailable (4), Power LineScott Johnson, August 21, 2015

Amano’s defense of the Parchin side deal comes amid speculation that the IAEA is being subject to overwhelming pressure by the Americans and the Iranians. On the American side, the leverage is straightforward: Amano is up for reelection next year, and he perennially relies on Western nations to provide him with slim majorities [r].

************************

Omri Ceren emails an update on the IAEA side deal with Iran on Parchin. I think that readers who have followed this important story so far will find this of interest as well. Omri writes:

As was more or less inevitable, today was all about the AP scoop describing the secret IAEA-Iran side deal on Parchin, the military base where Iran conducted hydrodynamic experiments relevant to the detonation of nuclear warheads. The IAEA has been trying to get access to the facility for years to figure out how far the Iranians got, as a prerequisite to setting up a verification regime preventing them from going further. The Obama administration told lawmakers throughout the Iran talks there could be no deal without the Iranians providing that access, but the AP yesterday published the text of a side deal between the IAEA and Iran indicating that the West had caved on that demand.

The document, titled “Separate arrangement II” – which was referenced in a Wednesday AP story and published Thursday – indicates that Iranians will be allowed to inspect themselves for evidence of the nuclear work they conducted at Parchin [a][b]. Instead of allowing IAEA inspectors to collect evidence from the facility, samples will be collected by the Iranians using Iranian equipment. Instead of allowing the IAEA to collect everything it wants, only seven samples will be handed over from mutually agreed upon areas. Instead of giving inspectors access to facilities, photos and videos will be taken by the Iranians themselves, again only from mutually agreed upon areas.

Iran deal supporters haven’t settled on just one response. As of last night administration liaisons were playing for time by telling lawmakers that the earlier AP story about the side deal was just a rumor. Then the AP published the actual draft. So this morning White House allies – including groups that have worked with the administration in lobbying Congress – tweeted around the theory that maybe the AP document was forged, at one point even referencing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [c][d][e]. Other validators have been trying to argue that the IAEA can still do its work even without access [f]. The White House will end up taking that latter claim – the IAEA stuff, not the Parchin Truther insanity – and insulating it with the argument that past work doesn’t matter anyway because what matters is the verification regime for future inspections. State Department spokesman Kirby was already floating that claim at yesterday’s press briefing [g].

That talking point might work on a political level. Administration officials can simply assert that the side deal is adequate and then – when pressed for details – declare that they can’t reveal their reasoning because it’s classified. They’ll heavily leverage yesterday’s statement from IAEA chief Amano saying that, for all sorts of classified reasons, the IAEA can live with the arrangement [h]. The opacity might well get the White House through the next month and a half of Congressional review.

But on a policy level, the side deal guts the JCPOA’s verification regime for future violations, which the administration has put at the center of the Iran deal. Administration officials really had no choice: once they gave up on any demands that would physically preclude the Iranians from going nuclear – dismantling centrifuges, mothballing facilities, etc – verification was all they had left. But it’s difficult to see how the pretense of verification can be sustained now that the Parchin side deal has been detailed:

(1) The side deal will become the precedent for future inspections of military sites — The Parchin arrangement – no physical access, restricted sampling, restricted video surveillance, etc. – will likely be used at least in part as a precedent for inspections of future sites. There is at least one other secret side deal out there: the AP’s Parchin document describes itself as “Separate arrangement II,” so presumably there’s a ‘Separate arrangement I’ that isn’t public and that may describe the verification arrangements. The Iranians were already saying that the future verification regime will not include inspector access to military sites, which would track with the Parchin precedent [j][k][l]. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told CNN about the Parchin arrangement “you have to worry that this would set a bad precedent in the Iran context and in the context of other countries” [m]. Rep. Royce sent Kerry a letter a few weeks ago that was even more explicit: the “side deals of today will become central to the agreement’s verification provisions tomorrow” [n] [quote omitted].

(2) IAEA sign-off suggests the agency has bent to political pressure — The Parchin arrangement is a humiliation for the IAEA. Heinonen told CNN that “It is very unusual… I find it really hard to understand why you would let someone else take the samples and only see through the camera” while Albright said “It’s really not normal… I don’t know why they accepted it. I think the IAEA is probably getting a little desperate to settle this” [o]. Until very recently Amano was explicit that the agency required further access to Parchin to resolve PMD issues: last March he “what we don’t know [is] whether they have undeclared activities or something else. We don’t know what they did in the past… we cannot tell we know all their activities” and last June he reiterated “the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran” [p][q].

Amano’s defense of the Parchin side deal comes amid speculation that the IAEA is being subject to overwhelming pressure by the Americans and the Iranians. On the American side, the leverage is straightforward: Amano is up for reelection next year, and he perennially relies on Western nations to provide him with slim majorities [r]. On the Iranian side, there are several mechanisms that are getting attention. Some are overt: this week Iran’s Fars News Agency published a boast that Amano knew he “would have been harmed” had he disobeyed Iranian wishes and revealed details of the side deal to Congress (the threat was scrubbed after it garnered international attention; some Iran defenders have suggested that Fars published the threat due to a mistranslation of a speech, though it’s unclear why having a state-controlled vehicle go out of its way to mistranslate and publish a threat is supposed to be reassuring [s][t]). Other Iranian pressure mechanisms are more subtle: for the first eight years of the JCPOA Iran is only bound to provisionally apply, rather than to ratify, the Additional. Even JCPOA supporters describe the concession as being “all about Iran keeping some leverage over the IAEA… it wants to be able to keep the option of revoking its provisional implementation, and not ratifying the AP, as leverage” [u].

[a] http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d8bfeff00c8341caab084841f44d9cde/what-secret-agreement-between-iran-and-un-says
[b] http://bigstory.ap.org/article/bedd428e26924eed95c5ceaeec72d3a4/text-draft-agreement-between-iaea-iran
[c] https://twitter.com/jstreetdotorg/status/634743999597801472
[d] https://twitter.com/tparsi/status/634743163467526144
[e] https://twitter.com/Max_Fisher/status/634726697263349761
[f] http://www.nbcnews.com/id/57764838/ns/msnbc-all_in_with_chris_hayes/#.VdeLL_mrT4Y
[g] http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/08/246211.htm
[h] https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/statement-iaea-director-general-yukiya-amano-1
[i] http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/07/speaking-of-iran-6.php
[j] http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940429001105
[k] http://en.mehrnews.com/news/108760/No-military-sites-inspections-Velayati
[l] http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iran-deal-zarif-20150722-story.html
[m] http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/20/politics/iran-inspections-report-nuclear-deal-experts/index.html
[n] http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/sites/republicans.foreignaffairs.house.gov/files/Parchin%20side%20deal_0.pdf
[o] http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/20/politics/iran-inspections-report-nuclear-deal-experts/index.html
[p] http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/iaea-monitoring-irans-nuclear-program/
[q] https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/introductory-statement-board-governors-63
[r] http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/11/20/plan-for-iaea-safeguards
[s] http://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-threatened-harm-to-top-nuke-inspector-to-prevent-disclosure-of-secret-deal/
[t] http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940526000960
[u] http://armscontrollaw.com/2015/07/15/much-much-more-on-the-jcpoa/

Not Satire | White House Allies Suggest Israel Forged Iran-IAEA Agreement Document

August 22, 2015

White House Allies Suggest Israel Forged Iran-IAEA Agreement Document, Washington Free Beacon, August 21, 2015

"Director

Trita Parsi, the head the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), another White House-allied group, hinted that Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu might have forged the document himself. (Huh? — DM)

*********************

Top White House allies are mounting a campaign to discredit recent reports Iran will be responsible for investigating its own military facility for evidence of nuclear activities under an agreement between international inspectors and Tehran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency will rely on Iran to collect its own environmental samples and turn over photos and videos from its suspected nuclear military site Parchin, according to a draft of a secret side-deal between the agency and the Iranian government published by the Associated Press on Thursday.

White House allies rushed to denounce the report, accusing the AP of publishing a phony document and suggesting that the Israeli government forged it to undermine the Obama administration’s Iran deal.

J Street, one of a number of groups that has been meeting with White House officials as part of a lobbying push to support the nuclear deal, questioned the accuracy of the document obtained by the AP on Friday and suggested that it was forged by Israel.

“The AP report should be thoroughly investigated and verified,” J Street tweeted. “Very worrying if there is any doubt of authenticity.”

Obama administration officials and the IAEA have not disputed the authenticity of the document. The existence of the Parchin side deal was first mentioned publicly by Sen. James Risch (R., Idaho) at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last month.

Trita Parsi, the head the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), another White House-allied group, hinted that Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu might have forged the document himself.

Parsi noted that the draft document published by AP referred to the “Islamic State of Iran” in one instance, instead of the “Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“The only one who refers to Iran as ‘Islamic State of Iran’ is Netanyahu. And strangely, @AP‘s dubious ‘draft’ of the IAEA-Iran agreement…” wrote Parsi on Twitter.

Others also floated the idea that Israel fabricated the document and leaked it to the AP.

“Could it be that #Israel stands behind leaking this document to #AP?” tweeted Said Arikat, the Washington bureau chief for Al Quds daily newspaper.

Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) who tweets under the name ArmsControlWonk, also questioned the accuracy of the report on Twitter.

MIIS, J Street, and NIAC have all received funding from the Ploughshares Fund, one of the top financers of the lobbying campaign to support the Iran deal.

The pushback against the AP story, and insinuations about Israeli sabotage, follow a months-long campaign to discredit Jewish lawmakers and others who have announced their opposition to the deal.

These attacks include charges of “dual loyalty” against Jewish politicians, which pro-Israel groups said crossed the line into anti-Semitism.

Vox blogger Max Fisher also argued that the AP story was “badly flawed,” noting that an ex-IAEA official questioned its authenticity and that some details were removed from the story after it was posted. The AP later added those details back into the article and said it had been shorted for brevity and not due to accuracy issues.

“As with many AP stories, indeed with wire stories generally, some details are later trimmed to make room for fresh info so that multiple so-called ‘writethrus’ of a story will move on the AP wire as the hours pass,” AP spokesperson Paul Colford told Fisher. “It was unfortunate that some assumed (incorrectly) that AP was backing off.”

AP reporters noted that the Obama administration and the IAEA have not disputed the document’s authenticity.

“If you don’t want to believe the report, so be it. But I would look for someone to actually deny what’s in it,” said AP diplomatic reporter Matt Lee in a tweet to Fisher.

“I am curious if you have managed to find a current official anywhere to back up the fraud claim,” Lee later added. As of Friday afternoon, Fisher had not.

The original AP article was written by Vienna bureau chief George Jahn.

According to the report, a draft of a side deal between the IAEA and Iran would allow the Iranian government to police its own military site for nuclear activities.

Iran has been accused of conducting nuclear detonations testing at the Parchin military facility, and supporters of the nuclear agreement said the site would be opened to international inspectors under the deal.

But according to the AP, the IAEA side agreement would not allow independent inspections of Parchin. Instead the Iranian government would turn over photographs and videos of the military site to the IAEA.

Under the deal, Iran would collect its own environmental samples from the Parchin military facility, which international inspectors would then test for nuclear residue.

Iran has been accused of conducting nuclear detonations testing at Parchin, and supporters of the nuclear deal said the facility would be opened to international inspectors under the recently signed agreement.

Inspector Clouseau was unavailable (2)

August 21, 2015

Inspector Clouseau was unavailable (2), Power LineScott Johnson, August 21, 2015

Today the juicebox leftists at Vox and their fellow lefties elsewhere in the media took a stab at discrediting George Jahn’s August 19 AP story reporting the self-inspection provisions of the IAEA side deal with Iran applicable to the Parchin facility. The AP has now posted the text of the original draft of the side deal here. The side deal shows President Obama and administration officials to be voluble liars on critically important matters inherent in the deal with Iran. Omri Ceren emails to provide the relevant background and bring the story up to date as of tonight. Omri writes:

The Obama administration spent the last 2 years telling lawmakers and reporters that any deal with Iran would require the Iranians to provide IAEA inspectors robust access to the Parchin military base, where the Iranians conducted hydrodynamic experiments relevant to the detonation of nuclear warheads. The IAEA needs the access to determine how far the Iranians got as a prerequisite to establishing a verification regime. Sherman in 2013: the JPOA requires Iran to “address past and present practices… including Parchin” [a]; Sherman in 2014: “as part of any comprehensive agreement… we expect, indeed, Parchin to be resolved” [b]; Harf in 2015: “we would find it… very difficult to imagine a JCPA that did not require such [inspector] access at Parchin” [c]; etc.

Last month Sen. Risch suggested in an open SFRC hearing that the West had collapsed on the requirement, and that instead the Iranians had worked out a secret side deal with Iran under which the Iranians would be trusted to collect their own samples for the IAEA [d]. Kerry refused to confirm the arrangement citing classification issues, but the AP’s Vienna reporter locked it down anyway [e].

White House officials and validators continued to declare that no way would the IAEA ever agree to that kind of arrangement, since it would preclude the agency from securing a chain of custody over the evidence. But the administration refused to transmit the side deal to Congress – which would have resolved the debate – and instead claimed that the U.S. couldn’t get the text because it was a confidential Iran-IAEA bilateral agreement. Business Insider confirmed that in fact U.S. diplomats can call for the agreement at any time because Washington sits on the IAEA’s Board of Governors [f]. Nonetheless Kerry told Congress that not only did the U.S. not have the text, but that he hadn’t even seen the final wording, though he added that maybe “Wendy Sherman may have” (she subsequently clarified she hadn’t either [g]).

Yesterday the AP revealed that its reporters had – in contrast – seen a draft reflecting the final language, and that they were in a position to confirm the concessions made to Iran [h]. Instead of allowing IAEA inspectors to collect evidence from Parchin, samples will be collected by the Iranians using Iranian equipment. Instead of allowing the IAEA to collect everything it wants, only seven samples will be handed over from mutually agreed upon areas. Instead of giving inspectors access to facilities, photos and videos will be taken by the Iranians themselves, again only from mutually agreed upon areas.

After yesterday’s article was published someone – presumably an overeager AP editor – tried to save some space by cutting several somewhat redundant paragraphs from the original draft. That triggered a flood of conspiracy theories about the AP retracting the story, and this morning there were a flood of snarky attacks on the outlet: “The AP’s controversial and badly flawed Iran inspections story, explained” (Vox [i]), “BREAKING: Nuclear Stuff Really Complicated” (TPM [k]), “Revised AP report… overwrites some of the more troubling aspects” (Haaretz [l]), “Potentially Deal-Shattering Report About Iran Inspections Has Some Issues” (HuffPo [j), etc.

As the news cycle unfolded today it became clear that the AP had the goods on the collapse to Iran. The AP restored the cut paragraphs and added a Washington angle [n]. AP reporters started listing specific concessions confirmed by the document [o][p][q][r] – and publicly daring critics to deny them [s]. Meanwhile IAEA chief Amano put out a statement that sought to defend the deal, but very much did not deny the AP report [m]. Then the afternoon press briefing happened, and again – as with Amano – State Department spokesman Kirby pointedly declined to back the White House validators who had attacked the AP’s report [t]:

QUESTION: … The points in the article that Iran would take the soil samples, Iran would take the videos; there would be seven points within Parchin, two points outside; that there wouldn’t necessarily be any IAEA inspectors in the facility… you don’t challenge those per se?
MR KIRBY: Well, as I said yesterday, Brad, I’m not going to comment about the contents of a draft document between the IAEA and Iran. Even the director general wouldn’t go so far as to reveal the details of what is a confidential agreement…

QUESTION: … was there any specific item in the story that – factual item in the story that was wrong? I don’t want to know which one it is, but there are times when you guys will say this was inaccurate without saying specifically what because you can’t comment on the specifics. So was there anything you can specifically say without identifying it that was inaccurate…
MR KIRBY: Well, as I said to Brad, I’m not going to get into speaking about the details of a draft document between —
QUESTION: I’m not asking about the details.
MR KIRBY: Arshad, I know, if you’d just let me finish.
QUESTION: Yep.
MR KIRBY: I’m not going to get into speaking about the details between – of a draft document between the IAEA and Iran or any other nation for that matter…

Then finally the AP just published the full text of the side deal, confirming the previous reporting [linked above].

After you read the side deal – which is short – you should also read another article the AP published this afternoon, which is an explainer on the substance of the Parchin debate now that the side deal is public. I wanted to make sure you caught the part about some of the policy and policy angles that are going to get reported out over the next few days:

The document on Parchin…will let the Iranians themselves look for signs of the very activity they deny — past work on nuclear weapons… Any indication that the IAEA is diverging from established inspection rules could weaken the agency… and feed suspicions that it is ready to overly compromise in hopes of winding up a probe that has essentially been stalemated for more than a decade. Politically, the arrangement has been grist for American opponents of the broader separate agreement to limit Iran’s future nuclear programs, signed by the Obama administration, Iran and five world powers in July. Critics have complained that the wider deal is built on trust of the Iranians, while the administration has insisted it depends on reliable inspections.

On a policy level, the side deal effectively trusts Iran to investigate its own violations, something that comes off as a bit absurd on its face (“will let the Iranians themselves look for signs of the very activity they deny”). On a political level, that absurdity will confirm suspicions that the IAEA has been pressured by parties who want to put aside substantive concerns over the viability of the nuclear deal in order to preserve it at all costs.

[a] http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-113shrg87828/html/CHRG-113shrg87828.htm
[b] http://www.shearman.com/~/media/Files/Services/Iran-Sanctions/US-Resources/Joint-Plan-of-Action/4-Feb-2014–Transcript-of-Senate-Foreign-Relations-Committee-Hearing-on-the-Iran-Nuclear-Negotiations-Panel-1.pdf
[c] http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/04/240324.htm
[d] https://youtu.be/N4TK8hOLrNA?t=9m44s
[e] http://bigstory.ap.org/article/e1ccf648e18a4788ac94861a3bc1b966/officials-iran-may-take-own-samples-alleged-nuclear-site
[f] http://www.businessinsider.com/secret-part-of-the-iran-agreement-2015-7#ixzz3hVReKYZ0
[g] http://thehill.com/policy/defense/250306-obama-iran-deal-negotiator-says-she-didnt-see-final-side-deals
[h] http://bigstory.ap.org/article/a9f4e40803924a8ab4c61cb65b2b2bb3/ap-exclusive-un-let-iran-inspect-alleged-nuke-work-site8
[i] http://www.vox.com/2015/8/20/9182185/ap-iran-inspections-parchin
[j] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ap-story-iran-inspections_55d50eeee4b0ab468d9fce0c%5D
[k] http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/breaking-nuclear-stuff-really-complicated
[l] http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.672049
[m] https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/statement-iaea-director-general-yukiya-amano-1
[n] https://twitter.com/wbenjaminson/status/634374928435970048
[o] https://twitter.com/bklapperAP/status/634386430542880770
[p] https://twitter.com/bklapperAP/status/634386158030594048
[q] https://twitter.com/bklapperAP/status/634385484232433664
[r] https://twitter.com/bklapperAP/status/634385265046487040
[s] https://twitter.com/bklapperAP/status/634405116859318272
[t] http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/08/246211.htm#IRAN

Inspector Clouseau was unavailable

August 20, 2015

Inspector Clouseau was unavailable, Power LineScott Johnson, August 20, 2015

President Obama purports to have a sophisticated theory of international relations supporting his catastrophic deal with Iran.

Dealing with the world’s foremost sponsor of state terrorism and an avowed enemy of the United States, Obama is lavishly funding the regime and leaving Iran’s nuclear program on the path of development to nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.

He proclaims the deal a famous victory, but with the AP’s report on the, ah, unusual arrangement for the self-inspection of the Parchin research facility, it has descended into self-evident farce. Even Stevie Wonder could see that.

Why self-inspection? With the death of Peter Sellers, Inspector Clouseau was unavailable.

For the United States, the self-inspection is one more humiliation among a long train of humiliating concessions. It represents a sort of reductio ad absurdum, a piece of black humor in the style of Joseph Heller. The secret side deal could be a sequel to Catch-22. From President Obama’s perspective, the humiliation of the United States must be an added advantage of the deal.

The revelation of the terms of the Parchin side deal prompts me to think back to the comments of senior Iranian presidential adviser and former intelligence minister Ali Younesi this past fall. The comments were offered for domestic political consumption to the official Iranian news agency.

There was something to offend everyone in Younesi’s comments. Most striking to me, however, was Younesi’s perception of Obama. Younesi had Obama’s number. Younesi’s contempt for Obama shone through his comments and it surely reflects the consensus of the regime. Obama has worked hard to earn it.

The fact that Younesi made these comments on the record for public consumption was striking and newsworthy. The Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo had the story:

The Iranian president’s senior advisor has called President Barack Obama “the weakest of U.S. presidents” and described the U.S. leader’s tenure in office as “humiliating,” according to a translation of the highly candid comments provided to the Free Beacon.

The comments by Ali Younesi, senior advisor to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, come as Iran continues to buck U.S. attempts to woo it into the international coalition currently battling the Islamic State (IS, ISIL, or ISIS).

And with the deadline quickly approaching on talks between the U.S. and Iran over its contested nuclear program, Younesi’s denigrating views of Obama could be a sign that the regime in Tehran has no intent of conceding to America’s demands.

“Obama is the weakest of U.S. presidents, he had humiliating defeats in the region. Under him the Islamic awakening happened,” Younesi said in a Farsi language interview with Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.

“Americans witnessed their greatest defeats in Obama’s era: Terrorism expanded, [the] U.S. had huge defeats under Obama [and] that is why they want to compromise with Iran,” Younesi said.

Younesi followed up with comments that were somewhat offensive to conservatives like us, but the substance wasn’t unflattering. We believe Israel is our friend and Iran has been our mortal enemy since, you know, around about 1979. In assessing Iran our enemy, we have taken them at their word and judged them by their actions. They have a voluminous amount of American blood on their hands.

Younesi is to some extent on the same page with President Obama. He said of American conservatives: “Conservatives are war mongers, they cannot tolerate powers like Iran. If conservatives were in power they would go to war with us because they follow Israel and they want to portray Iran as the main threat and not ISIS.”

Well, Iran is the main threat. ISIS doesn’t have a nuclear program or the trappings of a state and I would like to think we would support military action against Iran if necessary, though a president whose strength they respected would make it unnecessary.

Younesi also had the Democrats’ number. He deemed them “no threat.” He got that right, though you don’t have to be a former intelligence minister to figure that out.

Younesi’s comments foretold our rendezvous with destiny, Obama style: “We [the Islamic Republic] have to use this opportunity [of Democrats being in power in the U.S.], because if this opportunity is lost, in future we may not have such an opportunity again.”

Recent Iranian disclosures highlight the perversity of the Iran “deal”

August 13, 2015

Recent Iranian disclosures highlight the perversity of the Iran “deal,” Dan Miller’s Blog, August 13, 2015

(The views expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

In 2011, well before the multilateral P5+1 “negotiations” with Iran began in February of 2013, Obama put Senator John Kerry in charge of  “secret bilateral negotiations on the [Iranian] nuclear dossier.” Kerry then advised Iranian officials that “we are definitely and sincerely willing, and we can resolve the issues” — including Uranium enrichment and the Possible Military Dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s nuclear weaponization and missile development programs have been substantially ignored ever since.

Ernest Moniz, who was to become Kerry’s technical adviser, was brought into the P5+1 negotiations at the specific request of the Iranian official — Moniz’ former MIT classmate — who was to be his counterpart. 

The Iran – North Korea nuclear axis, through which the rogue nations cooperate on nuke and missile development, continues to be ignored.

In earlier articles, beginning shortly after the Joint Plan of Action was published in November of 2013, I attempted to show that the focus was on pretending to curtail Iran’s Uranium enrichment programs as they expanded and then granting sanctions relief, while substantially ignoring the program’s “possible military dimensions” (PMDs). Followup articles are here, here and elsewhere. The PMDs have yet to be explored seriously and evidently will not be under the current “comprehensive” joint plan and the secret side deals between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran.

Any pretense that the IAEA will have “any time, anywhere” access to Iran’s military sites was mere rhetoric, as acknowledged by US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on July 16th

“I think this is one of those circumstances where we have all been rhetorical from time to time,” Sherman said in a conference call with Israeli diplomatic reporters. “That phrase, anytime, anywhere, is something that became popular rhetoric, but I think people understood that if the IAEA felt it had to have access, and had a justification for that access, that it would be guaranteed, and that is what happened.” [Emphasis added.]

Ms. Sherman was right about the rhetorical nature of administration assertions, but wrong about IAEA access, of which there will apparently be little or none pursuant to the secret deals between Iran and the IAEA.

I. Here’s some background on Kerry

Reporting for duty

Reporting for duty with Iran

During his 2004 campaign for president, Kerry said if he were the president he would

have “offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel” to Iran, to “test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes.” Mr. Kerry’s words brought comfort to Tehran’s top mullahs, who have been seeking to buy time from the international community for the past two years while they continue perfecting their nuclear weapons capabilities. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

Top among the pro-regime fund-raisers who have contributed to the Kerry campaign is a recent Iranian immigrant in California named Susan Akbarpour.

. . . .

The Kerry campaign credits Miss Akbarpour and her new husband, Faraj Aalaie, with each raising $50,000 to $100,000 for the presidential campaign. Mr. Aalaie is president of Centillium Communications, a Nasdaq-listed software firm.

These contributions continue . . . even though Miss Akbarpour was not a permanent U.S. resident when she made her initial contribution to Mr. Kerry on June 17, 2002, as this reporter first revealed in March. (To be legal, campaign cash must come from U.S. citizens or permanent residents).

On August 10th of this year, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) published a lengthy article quoting Iranian officials on their dealings with Senator Kerry. Obama had put Senator John Kerry in charge of “secret bilateral negotiations on the [Iranian] nuclear dossier” well before the multilateral P5+1 “negotiations” with Iran began in February of 2013.

The MEMRI article states that Kerry had representatives of The Sultanate of Oman deliver a letter he had written to Iranian officials recognizing Iran’s Uranium enrichment rights and suggesting secret negotiations. Omani officials discussed the letter with Iranian officials and, when the Iranians appeared skeptical, the Omani official suggested,

Go tell them that these are our demands. Deliver [the note] during your next visit to Oman.’ On a piece of paper I wrote down four clearly-stated points, one of which was [the demand for] official recognition of the right to enrich uranium. I thought that, if the Americans were sincere in their proposal, they had to accept these four demands of ours. Mr. Souri delivered this short letter to the mediator, stressing that this was the list of Iran’s demands, [and that], if the Americans wanted to resolve the issue, they were welcome to do so [on our terms], otherwise addressing the White House proposals to Iran would be pointless and unjustified. [Emphasis added.]

“All the demands presented in this letter were related to the nuclear challenge. [They were] issues we had always come up against, like the closing of the nuclear dossier, official recognition of [the right to] enrichment, and resolving the issue of Iran’s past activities under the PMD [possible military dimensions] heading. After receiving the letter, the Americans said, ‘We are definitely and sincerely willing, and we can resolve the issues that Iran mentioned.’” [Emphasis added.]

The texts of the November, 2013 Joint Plan of Action, as well as the July 14, 2015 “deal,” could easily have been predicted based on Kerry’s 2011 response to the Iranians.

“After Rohani’s government began working [in August 2013] – this was during Obama’s second term in office – a new [round of] negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 was launched. By this time, Kerry was no longer a senator but had been appointed secretary of state. [But even] before this, when he was still senator, he had already been appointed by Obama to handle the nuclear dossier [vis-à-vis Iran] and later [in December 2012] he was appointed secretary of state. Before this, the Omani mediator, who was in close touch with Kerry, told us that Kerry would soon be appointed secretary of state. In the period of the secret negotiations with the Americans in Oman, there was a more convenient atmosphere for obtaining concessions from the Americans.  After the advent of the Rohani government and the American administration [i.e., after the start of Obama’s second term in office], and with Kerry as secretary of state, the Americans expressed a more forceful position. They no longer displayed the same eagerness to advance the negotiations. Their position became more rigid and the threshold of their demands higher. But the situation on the Iranian side changed too, since a very professional team was placed in charge of the negotiations with the P5+1…”

Perhaps Kerry had found it more congenial, and certainly more consistent with his and Obama’s own intentions, to be eager to help Iran during secret negotiations and to appear modestly resistant during the P5+1 sessions; they were at least slightly more in public view. Even so, according to Amir Hossein Motagh, a former aide to President Rouhani,

The US negotiating team are mainly [in Lausanne] to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, for example, has long been insisting that Iran come clean on its previous military activities, something we are now told that the American delegation, led by Secretary Kerry, wants to leave out of the negotiation. Why? Because the Iranians have said they will not come clean. [Emphasis added.]

That was too much even for the normally pro-Democrat Washington Post, which wrote in a column attributed to its Editorial Board last Friday that the deal was “a reward for Iran’s noncompliance.”

According to the article linked above,

Some Iranian-Americans believe that Secretary Kerry should have recused himself from the negotiations at the very outset because of his long-standing relationship to his Iranian counter-part, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The two first met over a decade ago at a dinner party hosted by George Soros at his Manhattan penthouse, according to a 2012 book by Hooman Majd, who frequently translates for Iranian officials.

Iranian-American sources in Los Angeles tell me that Javad Zarif’s son was the best man at the 2009 wedding between Kerry’s daughter Vanessa and Behrouz Vala Nahed, an Iranian-American medical doctor.

The newlyweds went to Iran shortly after their wedding to met Nahed’s family. Kerry ultimately revealed his daughter’s marriage to an Iranian-American once he had taken over as Secretary of State. But the subject never came up in his Senate confirmation hearing, either because Kerry never disclosed it, or because his former colleagues were too polite to bring it up.

Why did Obama designate Kerry to deal with Iran in 2011? Andrew C. McCarthy, writing at The Center for Security Policy, offers this:

Clearly, there are two reasons: Obama needed someone outside the administration, and Kerry’s status and track record made him a natural.

Remember, Obama was running for reelection in 2011–12. Public opposition to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and, therefore, to Iran’s enrichment of uranium was very strong — and, indeed, remains so. Consequently, Obama pretended on the campaign trail that he would vigorously oppose Iran’s uranium-enrichment efforts . . . even as he was covertly signaling to the jihadist regime that he was open to recognizing Iran as a nuclear power. [Emphasis added.]

As my friend Fred Fleitz of the Center for Security Policy has noted, Obama asserted in the lead-up to the 2008 election that “the world must work to stop Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.” So too, in the run-up to the 2012 election, did Obama continue assuring voters that Iran “needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.” Those U.N. resolutions prohibit Iran’s enrichment activities. Thus did the president proclaim, in seeking reelection, that the only deal he would accept would be one in which the Iranians “end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward.” [Emphasis added.]

With Obama out feigning opposition to Iran’s enrichment activities, it would not do to have a conflicting message communicated to Iran by his own administration. What if Iran, to embarrass Obama, were to go public about an administration entreaty that directly addressed enrichment? It would have been hugely problematic for the president’s campaign. Obama thus needed an alternative: someone outside the administration whom Obama could trust but disavow if anything went wrong; someone the Iranian regime would regard as authoritative. [Emphasis added.]

John Kerry was the perfect choice.

I agree, but Mr. McCarthy does not address this exchange, quoted above but worth repeating here:

“All the demands presented in this letter were related to the nuclear challenge. [They were] issues we had always come up against, like the closing of the nuclear dossier, official recognition of [the right to] enrichment, and resolving the issue of Iran’s past activities under the PMD [possible military dimensions] heading. After receiving the letter, the Americans said, ‘We are definitely and sincerely willing, and we can resolve the issues that Iran mentioned.’” [Emphasis added.]

II. Ernest Moniz

Moniz, the U.S. Energy Secretary, was asked to join the P5+1 technical discussions at the request of Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

Salehi said that he was asked to join the nuclear talks when the discussions on the Natanz enrichment facility reached a dead end. Salehi said he would only join the talks if Moniz, his American counterpart, did as well. According to Salehi, this was approved by Undersecretary Wendy Sherman and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, which he described as “the communications link between America and Iran.” [Emphasis added.]

Salehi said he and Moniz did not know each other well when they were at MIT, but when they first met during the talks, “there was a feeling that he has known me for years.” Salehi added, “A number of my classmates are now Mr. Moniz’s experts.”  [Emphasis added.]

According to Salehi, Moniz entering the talks was important because Salehi expressed that he had been sent with “full authority” to sign off on all technical issues in the nuclear negotiations and Moniz had told him that he had the same authority. He added, “If the negotiations did not take place with the Americans, the reality is that it would not have reached a conclusion. No [other] country was ready to sit with us and negotiate for 16 days with their foreign minister and all of its experts.”

Salehi said that one of the more difficult times negotiating with Moniz was after they reached an agreement on a particular issue. Moniz would take it to the other members of P5+1, who would then make their own requests.

Moniz was likely as forthcoming with the non-US members of P5+1 as he was with members of the U.S. Congress; not at all.

North Korea and Iran, partners in crime

This is a drum I have been beating for years. Recent articles are available here and here. The Obama Administration persists in covering up what it knows on the subject and the current “deal” with Iran is silent on the matter. So, of course, was the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action.

Forbes published an article by Claudia Rosett today (August 13th) on the subject and, beyond noting that Douglas Frantz is Kerry’s Assistant Secretary in charge of the Bureau of Public Affairs, she observes that in his former capacity as a journalist for the Washington Post and New York Times, he wrote about the nature and perils of the axis.

Frantz’ duties under Kerry include

engaging “domestic and international media to communicate timely and accurate information with the goal of furthering U.S. foreign policy and national security interests as well as broadening understanding of American values.”

But it appears that as a State Department advocate of a free and well-informed press, Frantz himself is not free to answer questions from the press about his own reporting on North Korea’s help to Iran in designing a nuclear warhead. The State Department has refused my repeated requests to interview Frantz on this subject. Last year, an official at State’s Bureau of Public Affairs responded to my request with an email saying, “Unfortunately Assistant Secretary Frantz is not available to discuss issues related to Iran’s nuclear program.” This June I asked again, and received the emailed reply: “This is indeed an important topic for Doug, but he feels that speaking about his past work would no longer be appropriate, since he is no longer a journalist.”

The real issue, of course, is not the career timeline of Douglas Frantz, but the likelihood, past and future, of nuclear collaboration between Iran and North Korea. Frantz may no longer be a journalist, but it’s hard to see why that should constrain him, or his boss, Secretary Kerry, from speaking publicly about important details of Iran’s illicit nuclear endeavors — information which Frantz in his incarnation as a star journalist judged credible enough to publish in a major newspaper.

. . . .

President Obama has been telling Congress and the American public that the Iran nuclear deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — “cuts off all Iran’s pathways to the bomb.” That’s not true. One of the most dangerous aspects of this deal is that it does not sever the longtime alliance between Tehran and Pyongyang. If there has indeed been cooperation between these two regimes on nuclear weapons, it’s time not only for Iran to come clean, but for the Obama administration to stop covering up. [Emphasis added.]

Although that’s not the only dangerous aspect which the Obama Administration has covered up and lied about cutting off “all [of] Iran’s pathways to the bomb” it is an important one. Meanwhile, it has been reported that

Fresh satellite images suggest North Korea is expanding its uranium extraction capacity, possibly with a view to increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons.

The images taken in Pyongyang show Kim Jong-un has begun to refurbish a major mill that turns uranium ore into yellowcake – a first step towards producing enriched uranium.

A recent report by U.S. researchers warned that Kim was poised to expand his nuclear programme over the next five years and, in a worst-case scenario, could possess 100 atomic weapons by 2020. 

Conclusions

“Negotiations” involving hostile foreign nations such as Iran are easier when led by friendly “negotiators” with compatible interests. At least since his failed 2004 campaign for the presidency, Kerry has been on Iran’s side and has favored it over the United States. While pretending for political purposes to be against Iran’s nuclear program, Obama was and remains in favor of it, pretenses to the contrary notwithstanding.

Obama, Kerry and Moniz got the deal they wanted. They, along with their P5+1 partners, richly deserve their resultant legacy of empowering Iran as an anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Western civilization, Islamist hegemonic nuclear power with a disgraceful human rights record comparable to that of its partner, North Korea.

The Iran – North Korea nuclear axis has helped both rogue nations to develop and create nuclear bombs and the means to deliver them, with very little in the way of “adult supervision.” The failure to deal with even tangentially, or even to mention, the axis will likely become a significant part of Obama’s legacy. Ours as well.

Bringing Obama’s vision of stability to the Middle East, Allah willing.

This video is from August 2010. Now it may well be too late to stop Iran.

What Iran’s hostile reaction to the Parchin issue means for the nuclear deal

August 11, 2015

What Iran’s hostile reaction to the Parchin issue means for the nuclear deal, Washington Post, David Albright, August 10, 2015

The United States and Congress should clearly and publicly confirm, and Congress should support with legislation, that if Iran does not address the IAEA’s concerns about the past military dimensions of its nuclear programs, U.S. sanctions will not be lifted. To do otherwise is to make a mockery of the nuclear deal.

********************

Chico Marx said: “Who you gonna believe? Me or your own eyes?” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said over the weekend that my organization, the Institute for Science and International Security, was spreading lies when we published satellite imagery that showed renewed, concerning activity at the Parchin military site near Tehran. This site is linked by Western intelligence and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to past work on nuclear weapons. But like Chico, instead of acknowledging the concern, the Iranians chose to deny the visible evidence in commercial satellite imagery. Iran’s comments would be mirthful if the topic were not so serious.

Zarif is also calling U.S. intelligence officials and members of Congress liars. They are the original source of the information both about renewed activity at Parchin and concerns about that activity. All we did was publish satellite imagery showing this activity and restate the obvious concern.

Moreover, this information about renewed activity at Parchin does not come from opponents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated between the United States, five other world powers and Iran, as Zarif suggested. We are neutral on whether the agreement should be implemented and have made that position clear for weeks. The U.S. intelligence community is hardly opposed to the deal. Iran’s attempts to dismiss this concern as the work of the deal’s foes also is just wrong.

Concern about Parchin has become more urgent now that there is a debate raging over whether the IAEA will have adequate access to this site under the terms of its deal with Iran. It would be irresponsible not to worry about reports that suggest that Iran could be again sanitizing the site to thwart environmental sampling that could reveal past nuclear weapons activities there. This concern is further heightened because Iran has demanded to do this sampling itself instead of letting the IAEA do it. Such an arrangement is unprecedented and risky, and will be even more so if Iran continues to sanitize the site. In the cases of the Iranian Kalaye Electric site and the North Korean plutonium separation plant at Yongbyon, the success of sampling that showed undeclared activities depended on samples being taken at non-obvious locations identified during previous IAEA visits inside buildings. The IAEA will not be able to visit Parchin until after the samples are taken, and it remains doubtful that the inspectors will be able to take additional samples.

Some of this can be written off to Zarif’s volatility. At one point during the negotiations, he yelled so loudly at Secretary of State John F. Kerry that those outside the room could hear him. He obviously angers easily. But he is also one of the more reasonable Iranian government officials. I can remember in the late 1990s discussions with Iranian government and nuclear officials in New York where the Iranians vehemently stated, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that they did not have any gas centrifuge programs. I was presenting the evidence that they did, in fact, have a centrifuge program, one in fact aided by Pakistan, and at one of these meetings, Zarif quietly said to me that he had always told me that Iran had the entire fuel cycle — technical language admitting to an enrichment program. His willingness to admit the obvious gave me hope that the crisis over Iran’s program could be solved diplomatically. But on Parchin, his words appear to reflect Iranian government intransigence on its past nuclear weapons program. Its action is an assault on the integrity and prospects of the nuclear deal.

Iran’s reaction shows that it may be drawing a line at Parchin. Resolving the Parchin issue is central to the IAEA’s effort to resolve concerns about Iran’s past work on nuclear weapons by the end of the year, but Parchin is not the only site and activity involved in this crucial issue. The IAEA needs to visit other sites and interview a range of scientists and officials. Instead of allowing this needed access, Iran appears to be continuing its policy of total denial, stating that the concerns are merely Western falsifications and fantasies. The United States recently reasserted that it believes Iran had a nuclear weapons program and stated that it knows a considerable amount about it. So, if Iran sticks to its strategy, one can expect an impasse that includes Iran refusing to allow the IAEA the access it needs to sites and scientists within the coming months.

U.S. officials have stated that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action requires Iran to address concerns about its past work on nuclear weapons prior to the lifting of sanctions. However, Iran may argue otherwise, and one could easily conclude that its recent actions are the start of such a reinterpretation of the agreement. The United States and Congress should clearly and publicly confirm, and Congress should support with legislation, that if Iran does not address the IAEA’s concerns about the past military dimensions of its nuclear programs, U.S. sanctions will not be lifted. To do otherwise is to make a mockery of the nuclear deal.