Think tank: P 5+1 secretly allowed Iran to evade nuke restrictions to allow sanctions to be liftedWashington-based Institute for Science and International Security reports that the United States and its partners agreed "in secret" to allow Iran to evade some restrictions in last year's landmark nuclear agreement in order to meet the deadline for it to start getting relief from economic sanctions.
The group's president David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector, said that, "the exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favor Iran."
Among the exemptions were two that allowed Iran to exceed the deal's limits on how much low-enriched uranium (LEU) it can keep in its nuclear facilities, the report said. LEU can be purified into highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.
The exemptions, the report said, were approved by the joint commission the deal created to oversee implementation of the accord. The commission is comprised of the United States and its negotiating partners -- called the P5+1 -- and Iran.
One senior "knowledgeable" official was cited by the report as saying that if the joint commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the deal by Jan. 16, the deadline for the beginning of the lifting of sanctions.
The U.S. administration has said that the world powers that negotiated the accord -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- made no secret arrangements.
A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the joint commission and its role were "not secret." He did not address the report's assertions of exemptions.The report says that Congress was notified of the exemptions... after they went into effect. But two key Senators - Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Robert Menendez deny being briefed on the exemptions.
But it gets worse. You see, not only was Iran exempted from the requirement to reduce its LEU... but no one even knows by how much.
As part of the concessions that allowed Iran to exceed uranium limits, the joint commission agreed to exempt unknown quantities of 3.5 percent LEU contained in liquid, solid and sludge wastes stored at Iranian nuclear facilities, according to the report. The agreement restricts Iran to stockpiling only 300 kg of 3.5 percent LEU.
The commission approved a second exemption for an unknown quantity of near 20 percent LEU in "lab contaminant" that was determined to be unrecoverable, the report said. The nuclear agreement requires Iran to fabricate all such LEU into research reactor fuel.
And there's more:
If the total amount of excess LEU Iran possesses is unknown, it is impossible to know how much weapons-grade uranium it could yield, experts said.
The draft report said the joint commission also agreed to allow Iran to keep operating 19 radiation containment chambers larger than the accord set. These so-called "hot cells" are used for handling radioactive material but can be "misused for secret, mostly small-scale plutonium separation efforts," said the report. Plutonium is another nuclear weapons fuel.
The deal allowed Iran to meet a 130-tonne limit on heavy water produced at its Arak facility by selling its excess stock on the open market. But with no buyer available, the joint commission helped Tehran meet the sanctions relief deadline by allowing it to send 50 tonnes of the material -- which can be used in nuclear weapons production -- to Oman, where it was stored under Iranian control, the report said.
The shipment to Oman of the heavy water that can be used in nuclear weapons production has already been reported. Albright's report made the new assertion that the joint committee had approved this concession.Wow....
You can bet that now that it's more than a year and a half later, Hillary Clinton's response will be 'what difference does it make now?' But it still does make a difference. Clinton supports the deal. Trump says he will 'renegotiate' it. Okay, I will grant that renegotiating the deal after all that money is out the door only has a chance of solving the nuclear weapons problem, and not the terror money problem. But at some point, actions have to have consequences.