US Senator John McCain astounded that Iran-IAEA arrangements are secret

US Senator John McCain called it “absolutely astounding” that the US is not privy to the nuclear inspection agreements between Iran and the IAEA, which are the linchpin of the entire nuclear deal.

By Lauren Calin, World Israel News

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ), a former presidential candidate, said it was “absolutely astounding” that the US has not seen the technical agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is tasked with governing inspection of suspected nuclear sites.

The Obama administration admitted that it is not privy to details of the arrangements between Iran and the IAEA, adding that they were briefed on the overall contents and are satisfied. “Congress will be fully briefed on this agreement in classified session,” Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Armed Services Committee at its Wednesday hearing.

This statement did not mollify McCain, who said it was “absolutely astounding” that the US has not seen the Iran-IAEA agreement. “I don’t think many of us would agree with that process,” he said.

“No country has access directly to the confidential agreements of the IAEA,” Kerry countered. “It’s not shared with the world.”

Suspected Iranian nuclear site

Parchin military site seen in a June 2012 satellite photo. (The Institute for Science and International Security)

Congress is concerned about the details of the inspections regime for Iranian military sites, such as the Parchin military facility, where the IAEA has reason to believe nuclear activity has been taking place. Iranian leaders asserted that there will be no IAEA inspections of military sites, and already in June they accused the IAEA of lying when claiming that Tehran had accepted the Additional Protocol, which authorizes the UN agency to inspect conventional military sites for suspected nuclear activity.”

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In the days immediately following the Iranian nuclear deal, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghanhe told the Iranian Fars news agency, “Tehran will not allow any foreigner to discover Iran’s defensive and missile capabilities by inspecting the country’s military sites.” The foreign ministry also released a statement saying, “Since there has never been nuclear activity at any military site, Iran is certain there will not be any request to inspect such sites.”

This represented a continuation of the position of the Iranian leadership while nuclear negotiations were underway. “Not only will we not grant foreigners the permission to inspect our military sites, we will not even give them permission to think about such a subject,” Brigadier General Hossein Salami, second-in-command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said in a television broadcast in April. “They will not even be permitted to inspect the most normal military site in their dreams.”