Iran deal links sanctions relief to explanation of military nuclear work

Questions still remain in regards to how far Iran is willing to let the International Atomic Energy Agency inquire about its nuclear program.

By
April 8, 2015 06:17
2 minute read.
Ali Khamenei

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in Tehran. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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WASHINGTON – Last week in Switzerland, Iran publicly agreed that long-standing international questions over its suspected military nuclear work, “past and present,” will be addressed in a comprehensive accord reached with world powers by June 30.

But Tehran has not yet agreed on the extent to which it will answer questions posed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has sought data-based explanations to its concerns over the nature of Iran’s program for nearly a decade.

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“Iran will implement an agreed set of measures to address the IAEA’s concerns regarding the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of its program,” the White House said in a fact sheet on the deal released on Thursday.

The Obama administration has not yet explained what those measures will entail.

Only upon Iran’s compliance with those measures, the White House asserts, will “all past UN Security Council resolutions on the Iran nuclear issue” be lifted.

Sanctions relief will be delivered “simultaneous with the completion, by Iran, of nuclear-related actions addressing all key concerns,” including cooperation with the IAEA on its PMD report.

In short, that means phased sanctions relief for Iran will be conditioned on a set of measures still undecided by negotiators, and on Iran’s participation with an investigation into work it fundamentally denies conducting – experimentation with nuclear weapons technology.

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Tehran says international demands its government admit to researching atomic trigger, miniaturization and other weaponization technologies are impossible, because such research has not occurred. Western intelligence agencies, and the IAEA itself, suspect otherwise. And since 2009, US President Barack Obama has said Iran must “come clean” on its weapons work for there to be any diplomatic resolution of the crisis.

In her statement to the press in Lausanne announcing the agreement, European Union high representative Federica Mogherini said the IAEA would be granted “enhanced access” in order “to clarify past and present issues.”

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, lauded in Iran for ushering in a deal promising broad and swift sanctions relief, said that no inspections would be tolerated inside its military bases. One such facility, Parchin, is suspected of hosting much of Iran’s military nuclear work.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, one senior administration official said the president and his team "would find it very difficult to imagine a JCPA that did not require such access at Parchin.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for slowly paced sanctions relief, contingent on an inspections regime that grants international monitors access anywhere in Iran at any time.

Speaking with reporters in Lausanne in the midst of eight tense days of negotiations, one senior official acknowledged that PMD would have to be addressed in an ultimate agreement. Whether sanctions relief will be contingent on its resolution, however, is left unclear by the document released by the White House.

Speaking to the issue of PMD on Tuesday, State Department Acting Spokesperson Marie Harf said the outstanding matter was "very important" to the administration, and that a list of sites and persons made accessible to the IAEA by Iran would have to be included in the June agreement.

"We have a path forward and have an agreement that they will undertake a PMD access list process," Harf said. "Now what that – how that plays out over the next three months is something that still needs to be negotiated."

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