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Friday, August 21, 2015

AP gets text of 'secret' Iran-IAEA deal, makes White House look like idiots

Just yesterday, I posted a Wall Street Journal editorial discussing an AP report that Iran was going to be allowed to carry out its own inspections at Parchin, the Tehran facility where Iran was likely developing nuclear weapons a couple of years ago.

When I went to sleep last night, a Max Fisher piece attacking that report was trending. Fisher's report was largely based on conversations with Jeffrey Lewis, a guy known on Twitter as @ArmsControlWonk.
"If true" turns out to be a major issue here, as upon closer examination the inflammatory headline, as it has been widely interpreted, appears to largely not be true.
In fact, the text of the article said something much more modest. It said that in a one-time set of inspections at one military facility known as Parchin, Iranians, rather than nuclear inspectors, would take "environmental samples" (such as soil samples). It said that nuclear inspectors would not be permitted to visit, and that Iran would not provide photos or videos of the site. But still, it was concerning.
"The story was the Iranians would take the samples under some kind of IAEA monitoring," Jeffrey Lewis, the arms control expert, told me. "The details of that monitoring were not provided, so it's hard to say how weird that is. Some IAEA officials say that it's not unusual to let a country physically take the samples if there's an IAEA inspector present."
The sourcing in the story, though, seemed to water it down a bit more. The report was not based not on an actual agreement, but rather on a copy of a draft agreement. The anonymous source who showed AP the document said there was a final version that is similar, but conspicuously refused to show AP the final version or go into specifics.
"The oldest Washington game is being played in Vienna," Lewis said. "And that is leaking what appears to be a prejudicial and one-sided account of a confidential document to a friendly reporter, and using that to advance a particular policy agenda."
The White House was so pleased that at 6:00 pm Eastern last night, they were still passing the Fisher piece around to reporters. Just one problem: AP posted the actual agreement at 4:35 Eastern.
1. Iran will provide to the Agency photos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.
2. Iran will provide to the Agency videos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.
3. Iran will provide to the Agency 7 environmental samples taken from points inside one building already identified by the Agency and agreed by Iran, and 2 points outside of the Parchin complex which would be agreed between Iran and the Agency.
4. The Agency will ensure the technical authenticity of the activities referred to in paragraphs 1-3 above. Activities will be carried out using Iran's authenticated equipment, consistent with technical specifications provided by the Agency, and the Agency's containers and seals.
5. The above mentioned measures would be followed, as a courtesy by Iran, by a public visit of the Director General, as a dignitary guest of the Government of Iran, accompanied by his deputy for safeguards.
6. Iran and the Agency will organize a one-day technical roundtable on issues relevant to Parchin.
For the International Atomic Energy Agency: Tero Varjoranta, Deputy Director General for Safeguards
For the Islamic Republic of Iran: Ali Hoseini Tash, Deputy Secretary of Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs
What I want to know is, why can the AP get this stuff when Congress couldn't?


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At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because someone at the IAEA is so alarmed by this that they decided to leak it to the press, where their anonymity will be assured? Remember that just days ago, Iran threatened the head of the IAEA over maintaining the secrecy of the 'side deals'.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger TMay said...

This was from an article "Side Deal' Allows Iran to Inspect Its Own Military Site"
by NBC: "The Senate opponent told NBC News tonight it is "categorically untrue that IAEA inspectors will be inside the Parchin facility while soil samples are being taken" - contrary to the administration's claims.

The senator, who would not permit his name to be used because of the classified nature of the briefing, says the IAEA will be outside the facility where the soil samples are being taken - a concession to save face for Iran."

Elsewhere I read that anything that Iran considers "military" can be declared "off limits".


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