If the “deal to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities” is so great, why is the most transparent administration in the history of the universe keeping two key parts of it secret from Congress and the American people? According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there are two “side deals” between the IAEA and Iran that even the P5+1 negotiators don’t know about. These deals center on inspecting a military site long suspected of carrying out nuclear and ballistic missile research and development.
Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) had a Friday meeting in Vienna with the IAEA, during which the agency told the lawmakers that two side deals made between Iran and the IAEA as part of the P5+1 deal will remain secret and will not be shared with other nations, with Congress, or with the public. One agreement covers the inspection of the Parchin military complex. The second details how the IAEA and Iran will resolve outstanding issues on possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.
Parchin is a critical part of the Iranian nuclear program that has long-been suspected of both long-range ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development. In 2011, the IAEA suspected that the facility was used to conduct high-explosive experiments as part of an effort to build nuclear weapons.
Neither side deal will be vetted by any organization other than Iran and the IAEA and will not be released even to the nations that negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This means that the secret arrangements have not been submitted to Congress as part of its legislatively mandated review of the Iran deal, and violations will be known only to the IAEA.
Rep Pompeo did not react kindly to this news:
This agreement is the worst of backroom deals. In addition to allowing Iran to keep its nuclear program, missile program, American hostages, and terrorist network, the Obama administration has failed to make public separate side deals that have been struck for the ‘inspection’ of one of the most important nuclear sites — the Parchin military complex. Not only does this violate the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, it is asking Congress to agree to a deal that it cannot review.
The failure to disclose the content of these side agreements begs the question, ‘What is the Obama administration hiding?’ Even members of Congress who are sympathetic to this deal cannot and must not accept a deal we aren’t even aware of. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand up and demand to see the complete deal.
Senator Cotton added:
In failing to secure the disclosure of these secret side deals, the Obama administration is asking Congress and the American people to trust, but not verify. What we cannot do is trust the terror-sponsoring, anti-American, outlaw regime that governs Iran and that has been deceiving the world on its nuclear weapons work for years. Congress’s evaluation of this deal must be based on hard facts and full information. That we are only now discovering that parts of this dangerous agreement are being kept secret begs the question of what other elements may also be secret and entirely free from public scrutiny.
Can the IAEA be trusted when the agency’s former director, Mohamed El Baradei, protected the Iranian nuke program? In 2009 the Wall Street Journal wrote:
The IAEA director seems intent on undercutting Security Council diplomacy. Just weeks after President George Bush toured the Middle East to build Arab support for pressure on Tehran, Mr. ElBaradei appeared on Egyptian television on Feb. 5 to urge Arabs in the opposite direction, insisting Iran was cooperating and should not be pressured. And as he grows more and more isolated from Western powers intent on disarming Iran, Mr. ElBaradei has found champions in the developing and Arab world. They cheer his self-imposed mission to hamstring U.S. efforts to constrain Iran’s program, whether or not the regime is violating its non-proliferation obligations or pursuing nuclear weapons.
It is not clear which way the IAEA would go in looking for Iranian violations, especially in the case of two deals who’s terms Iran and the IAEA knew about. The IAEA will be under tremendous pressure from the big powers to capitulate to Iranian demands in order to keep the agreement on track. Just as they themselves capitulated to Iranian demands during the course of the P5+1 negotiations.
Congress must get to the bottom of what is being hidden about this deal. And fast and if they cant find out it is just one more reason to vote no on what looks increasingly like a “crap sammich.”
Cross-posted at The Lid