Two Key Parts of Iran Deal Being Kept Secret From Congress

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Two key passages of the Iran deal are being kept secretAs per the agreement, these passages will be negotiated separately between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran and will not be available for review by Congress.

The first concerns the inspection of the Parchin military installation, which has been under suspicion for years for conducting research on nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles. The second centers on separate negotiations to resolve the issue of possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program.

Two Congressmen released a statement after meeting with the IAEA in Vienna which reads,

“Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) on Friday had a meeting in Vienna with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), during which the agency conveyed to the lawmakers that two side deals made between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) 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, and the second details how the IAEA and Iran will resolve outstanding issues on possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.”

According to a summary of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which mandates a review of any agreement by Congress (which was signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama), “The bill requires the president to submit to Congress the agreement and all related documents, including specifics on verification and compliance. This ensures Congress will get to see the entire deal and make an independent judgment on its merits.” [emphasis added]

One of the authors of the review bill, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn), noted, “The review period does not begin until all documents associated with an agreement are submitted to Congress along with assessments on compliance and non-proliferation.”

Pompeo, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, commented, "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," he said. "Even members of Congress who are sympathetic to this deal cannot and must not accept a deal we aren’t even aware of.” 

Similarly, Cotton, said, "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." 

Meanwhile, a recent Pew poll suggested “there is widespread skepticism” about the agreement on the part of the American public. Of the 79 percent of Americans who are aware of the deal polled, 48 percent disapproved while 38 percent approved. Seventy-three percent responded they have no confidence or not too much confidence that Iran will hold up its side of the agreement.

A large protest against the agreement was held yesterday in New York City’s Times Square, where thousands could be heard chanting, “Kill the deal!” The event, which was called the “Stop Iran Rally” featured speakers including former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who said opposing the agreement “is not only a strategic issue but a moral one.”

Defense attorney and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who attended the rally, said, “I am here as a liberal Democrat, and I urge my fellow Democrats and liberals to stand together, shoulder to shoulder.”

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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