Anonymous State Department official says it's 'weird' to defend Iran
An anonymous State Department official says that it's 'weird
' to be defending Iran.
One senior U.S. official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of
anonymity, acknowledged that the U.S. defense of Iranian compliance was
"weird" and did not come naturally.
"Iran has done a lot of bad things in Syria and across the Middle
East, and still does. It's holding Americans hostages. But the fact is,
it's complying with the JPOA."
By "hostages," the official was referring to U.S. citizens detained
in Iran, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, on trial for
alleged espionage. The United States says charges against Rezaian and
others are false and has demanded their release.
If Iran were shown to have cheated on the JPOA, it would make it more
difficult for Obama to sell a long-term accord to lift sanctions on
Iran in exchange for curbs on Iranian nuclear work to skeptical
lawmakers in the Republican-led Congress.
The Obama administration says a report by the International Atomic
Energy Agency last week found that Iran was in compliance with the JPOA,
by holding no more low-enriched uranium at the end of June than it had
three months before.
But nuclear expert David Albright said Tehran had met the target only
by converting some low enriched uranium into a form that could be
easily converted back, violating the spirit if not the letter of the
Albright said the case showed Washington was "prepared to legally
reinterpret the deal" to explain away poor performance by Iran.
Olli Heinonen of Harvard University, former deputy head of the IAEA, echoed Albright's caution.
"Any concessions in the implementation of agreed parameters will
further reduce the breakout time and erode the credibility of the
agreement," he said.
A senior U.S. official dismissed Albright's criticism, saying Iran had done what it was required to do.
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Labels: Iran sanctions regime, Iranian nuclear threat, P 5+1, US State Department