IAEA Defends Iran Deal

Published: August 20, 2015

IAEA Defends Iran Deal, The U.N. nuclear watchdog is defending its agreement with Iran — saying it gives its inspectors sufficient access to the Parchin military facility, a site long suspected to be used for nuclear weapons research.

International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano issued a statement Thursday pouring cold water on an earlier report from the Associated Press that said draft details of the deal would allow Iranians to inspect the Parchin site, instead of allowing U.N. inspectors access to the facility.

Amano called the report “misleading” and said that although he couldn’t disclose details, the agreement satisfied the IAEA’s access requirements and met Iran’s demands.

“I am disturbed by statements suggesting that the IAEA has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran,” he said in a statement. “Such statements misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work.

The Associated Press, for its part, is standing by its report — which is based off a document seen by its reporters and has been reviewed by an “official familiar with its contents” who said it doesn’t “differ substantially” from the final version of the deal.

Supporters of the Iran deal have decried the AP’s reporting as misleading, noting that the news agency removed key details of the story on Wednesday without explanation. The AP’s assistant Washington bureau chief, Wendy Benjaminson, tweeted Thursday: “AP has updated story to restore details of IAEA-Iran deal that were cut last night solely for space.”

“The document suggests that instead of carrying out their own probe, IAEA staff will monitor Iranian personnel as they inspect the Parchin nuclear site,” the AP’s revised story says — though it notes that the draft agreement does not specify how the IAEA would do so.

According to former IAEA official Tariq Rauf, such an arrangement would be unorthodox, but not necessarily crippling.

“It would be unusual but by no means technically compromising to have Iranian technicians collect swipe samples at sites and locations at Parchin in the physical presence and direct line of sight of IAEA inspectors, including filming, and using swipe kits and collection bags provided by the IAEA,” Rauf, now a program director at the Stockholm International Peace Institute, wrote.

The report has further fueled the GOP opposition to President’s Barack Obama’s Iran deal — with Republican House Foreign Committee Chairman Ed Royce telling the AP “International inspections should be done by international inspectors. Period,” and Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush calling the reported arrangement a “farce.”

The White House said Wednesday that it was confident in the agreement with the U.N. watchdog and Iran.


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