Rice after Iran deal: US open to exploring ways to bolster security ties with Israel

US national security adviser attempts to appease concern over nuclear agreement; says US defense secretary scheduled to visit region this weekend in light of Iran deal.

July 16, 2015 10:43
2 minute read.

Rice after Iran deal: US open to exploring ways to bolster security ties with Israel

Rice after Iran deal: US open to exploring ways to bolster security ties with Israel

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice said on Wednesday that the US would look at ways to deepen its security cooperation with Israel, a strident opponent of the nuclear deal reached with Iran.

"We will ... be looking forward, if the Israelis are interested and willing, they haven't said so yet, to discuss with them how we might further deepen and strengthen our security and intelligence cooperation," Rice told Reuters in an interview.

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She added that US Defense Secretary Ash Carter was set to travel to Israel and Saudi Arabia this weekend as part of the effort to convince partners in the region about the benefits of the deal.
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Rice attempted to appease concerns over deal, saying Iran will have no way to avoid inspections of military or other sites that the United States and its allies deem suspicious when a nuclear pact sealed this week goes into effect.

She said the deal would not give Iran any room to oppose inspections if Washington or others had information believed to reveal a secret site that they took to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for review.

"If the Iranians said, 'No, you can't see that site,' whether it's a military site or not, the IAEA, if it deems the site suspicious, can ask for access to it," she said.

If Iran refuses access but five of the eight international signatories to the deal demand an investigation under a newly created joint commission, Iran must comply, she said.
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"It's not a request. It's a requirement," Rice said. Iran would be "bound to grant that access."

Under the deal announced earlier this week, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted in exchange for Iran agreeing to long-term curbs on its nuclear program, which the West and Israel have suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

As part of the deal, Iran will have a 24-day period in which it can address concerns over suspicious sites and agree to inspections.

But the procedure does not explicitly force Iran to admit that its military sites could be open to foreign inspections, leaving some uncertainty over the access Iran will allow in practice.

Critics of the deal, including Republicans and Israel's government, have said the agreement is full of loopholes, particularly when it comes to verification and Iran's "breakout" capability - the time it would take theoretically to develop a nuclear weapon. They have called the 24-day period an unacceptable loophole for Iran.

Rice dismissed concerns that Iran could hide radioactive nuclear material in what would be large facilities during that waiting period.
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"They can't hide the evidence of that in any meaningful way in that kind of period of time. And you can't hide a facility of that size very easily for long," she said.

Signatories to the deal include the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the EU, and Iran.

Rice and other officials in President Barack Obama's administration are advancing a broad sales pitch at home and abroad, needing to reassure skeptical Gulf allies and Republicans in Congress who are hostile to the deal.

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