The US is again caving to Iranian defiance, this time eliminating the long-standing requirement that the Islamic Republic come clean on its history of nuclear weapons development in order to reach a final deal.
In another apparent retreat of US demands from Iran in order to ensure a safe nuclear deal, Washington is giving up on forcing Iran to provide comprehensive information on the Islamic Republic’s past nuclear weapons research.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that a full accounting of Iran’s past research in atomic weaponry is not necessarily critical to reaching a nuclear deal, contradicting his earlier statements on the issue.
Kerry said the US and its negotiating partners are “not fixated” on the issue of so-called “possible military dimensions” because they already have a complete picture of Iran’s past activities. He said they are more concerned that those activities have stopped and about what Iran might do in the future.
“What we’re concerned about is going forward,” he told reporters at the State Department by video link from his home in Boston, where he is recovering from surgery on a broken leg.
After reaching an interim accord with Iran in November 2013, the Obama administration said a comprehensive solution “would include resolution of questions concerning the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program.”
Officials told The Associated Press last week, however, that those questions will not be answered by the June 30 deadline to reach a final deal. Instead, they said, the US and its partners are working on a list of future commitments that Iran must fulfill to resolve the concerns about past work.
Kerry’s remarks on Tuesday directly contradict his previous statements that Iran must disclose past nuclear military activities for a final deal. Asked on April 8, during a television interview with PBS, whether the US was “prepared to accept” Iran’s refusal to disclose information on past military-related nuclear activity, as requested by the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA), Kerry replied: “No. They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal; it will be done.”
“So that information will be released before June 30th, will be available?” Kerry was again asked. “It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be,” he clearly stated.
See the interview here. Skip to 6:44.
Growing Fears About Iran’s Nuclear Know-How
Much of Iran’s alleged work on warheads, delivery systems and detonators predates 2003, when Iran’s nuclear activity first came to light. But Western intelligence agencies say they do do not know the extent of Iran’s activities or if Iran had persisted in covert efforts.
An IAEA investigation has been foiled for more than a decade by Iran’s refusal to allow monitors to visit suspicious sites or interview individuals involved in secret weapons development. The IAEA therefore determined that it cannot “conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
Iran denies any interest in obtaining nuclear weapons, insisting that its enrichment of uranium, plans for a heavy water reactor and various research activities are meant for power generation and other peaceful applications.
Iran alleges that pieces of evidence to the contrary, cited by the IAEA and others, are forgeries. Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have made several defiant statements about blocking monitors from accessing Iranian facilities and scientists.
Critics of the emerging nuclear deal have focused significantly on the issue of Iran’s past military work. They insist Iran must not only “come clean” on such activity for transparency’s sake, as past and present US administrations have long demanded, but that compliance with any accord can only be measured if Tehran provides a complete accounting of all its previous nuclear efforts.
On Tuesday, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker, expressed concern about reports of concessions, particularly regarding Iran’s accounting of its weaponization activities. Corker described that as yet another “redline” that would be crossed.
“I again urge the administration not to be afraid to walk away if Iran insists on crossing remaining redlines that are essential to a verifiable agreement,” he stated.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff
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