Watchdog Says Obama Administration ‘Inventing’ Iran Concessions Under Nuclear Deal
Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group The Israel Project (TIP) on Sunday said that the Obama Administration was inventing Iranian concessions under the recent nuclear deal.
“Most of the claims about new concessions are just straight up false,” the group said in an email to reporters. “Either the concessions don’t actually exist or they weren’t new. In a couple [of] cases the State Department actually left out entire clauses and paragraphs from the text [of the deal] in order to sell talking points,” they said.
TIP was referring to a fact sheet and infographic released by the State Department after spokesman John Kirby was stumped by reporters last Tuesday, when he said that the nuclear agreement, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), “in some cases exceeds some of our expectations,” that were set by the earlier Lausanne framework. Asked for specifics, he responded, “I was afraid when I said that that you were going to ask me… Let me get you an answer right after.”
According to TIP, four points in the infographic leave out information from the deal. The first claims that Iran has agreed to use only light-water nuclear reactors indefinitely, aside from the existing heavy-water reactor in Arak. TIP said that this “brand new claim” actually “contradicts past statements by President Obama.”
In the President’s post-Vienna speech he noted, “For at least the next 15 years, Iran will not build any new heavy-water reactors,” and not indefinitely, the group said.
The second concession claimed by the State Department is that Iran agreed not to cooperate with other countries on developing uranium enrichment technologies for 15 years. TIP alleges that this is also a “brand new claim,” and “can’t be true because the JCPOA obligates the Russians to cooperate with Iran on nuclear technology at Iran’s underground enrichment bunker at Fordow.”
The third concession listed in the infographic is that Iran has agreed to let the IAEA monitor the production and stockpiling of all heavy water in Iran. TIP points out that this is not a new concession, and was included under the Lausanne framework agreement, which said, “Iran will not accumulate heavy water in excess of the needs of the modified Arak reactor, and will sell any remaining heavy water on the international market for 15 years.” The JCPOA merely repeats this obligation, according to TIP.
The fourth claim was that Iran had agreed not to develop proficiency in uranium or plutonium metallurgy for at least 15 years, which would prevent it from producing the necessary components for a nuclear weapon. TIP claims that “the Iranians have had that proficiency since at least… 2009.”
One of the State Department-listed concessions was that Iran committed not to “engage in certain activities that could be used to design and develop a nuclear weapon.” The Israel Project acknowledged that this clause was included in the JCPOA, but, the group said, it is “100% unenforceable.” TIP quoted former IAEA official Olli Heinonen as saying that there’s “not really even an inspection procedure for that, I think it’s zero. It’s not even one.”
The State Department fact sheet also included two Iranian concessions that TIP said were “widely expected, and were aimed at fixing glaring and well-known loopholes left in the Lausanne text.”
These included Iran’s agreement not to seek highly enriched uranium or plutonium from abroad for any purpose, for 15 years, and its commitment to ship out all 20% enriched uranium not already in fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor.
“There’s no way the negotiators expected to come home without” these concessions, and they are nothing for the State Department to boast about, The Israel Project said.
Regardless, the group said the concessions are “insignificant compared to where the Americans caved: opening up a plutonium pathway to a nuclear bomb, dropping the arms embargo, and gutting the inspection regime by collapsing on PMDs and anytime/anywhere inspections.”