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WSJ: Admin Document Provided To Congress Says We’ll Likely Never Get Full Accounting Of Iran’s Past Nuclear Program | Missouri Political News Service

WSJ: Admin Document Provided To Congress Says We’ll Likely Never Get Full Accounting Of Iran’s Past Nuclear Program

July 28th, 2015 by mopns · No Comments

The Wall Street Journal
 reports today, “An Obama administration assessment of the Iran nuclear deal provided to Congress has led a number of lawmakers to conclude the U.S. and world powers will never get to the bottom of the country’s alleged efforts to build an atomic weapon, and that Tehran won’t be pressed to fully explain its past.

“In a report to Capitol Hill last week, the administration said it was unlikely Iran would admit to having pursued a covert nuclear weapons program, and that such an acknowledgment wasn’t critical to verifying Iranian commitments in the future.

“Details of the report, which haven’t been previously disclosed, indicate the deal reached this month could go ahead even if United Nations inspectors never ascertain conclusively whether Iran pursued a nuclear weapons program—something Tehran has repeatedly denied. . . .

“Under the deal, Tehran is required by mid-October to give U.N. inspectors access to Iranian scientists, military sites and documents allegedly tied to a covert nuclear-weapons program to have international sanctions repealed. Iran has balked at such requirements in the past.

“U.S. lawmakers and outside nuclear experts are skeptical the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, will be able to conclusively determine in two months an investigation it has failed to resolve in more than a decade.

“The IAEA is required to publish a report by year-end on Iran’s alleged past military work as part of the deal.”

According to the WSJ, “On Iran’s alleged past weapons work, the Obama administration said it concluded: ‘An Iranian admission of its past nuclear weapons program is unlikely and is not necessary for purposes of verifying commitments going forward, said a copy of the assessment viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

“‘U.S. confidence on this front is based in large part on what we believe we already know about Iran’s past activities,’ the report said. ‘The United States has shared with the IAEA the relevant information, and crafted specific measures that will enable inspectors to establish confidence that previously reported Iranian [weaponization] activities are not ongoing.

“A senior U.S. official said Sunday the IAEA had already concluded most of its probe into Iran’s alleged weaponization work and that the recently concluded deal in Vienna gives the agency more leverage to complete it. The official added the U.S. intelligence community long ago concluded Tehran had a nuclear-weapons program up until 2003, and that ‘an admission of what Iran did in the past is scientifically not needed to evaluate Iran’s compliance with the [agreement] in the future.’”

Of course, this contradicts what Obama administration officials had been saying prior to the deal reached in Vienna this month. Back in April, PBS’ Judy Woodruff asked Secretary of State John Kerry, “[T]he International Atomic Energy Agency has said for a long time that it wants Iran to disclose past military-related nuclear activities. Iran is increasingly looking like it’s not going to do this. Is the U.S. prepared to accept that?”

Kerry was definitive in his response: “No. They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal; it will be done. . . . It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be.”

Strangely, last month Kerry actually used language very similar to what appears in the documents The Wall Street Journal reports on today. At the time, Politico wrote, “Kerry suggested that Iran would not have to fully account for any past atomic weapons research as part of reaching a nuclear deal, affirming earlier reports that the U.S. wouldn’t make that a condition. . . . ‘The possible military dimensions, frankly, gets distorted a little bit in some of the discussion, in that we’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another,’ Kerry said. ‘We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward. It’s critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way.’”

But then the next day, State Department spokesman John Kirby sparred with reporters, insisting that Kerry’s comments had been misinterpreted.

One reporter pressed him, “What was reported and what the Secretary said – and I think that the reporting was an accurate reflection of what he said – was that they [the possible military dimensions of Iran’s previous nuclear work] do not have to be resolved for there to be an agreement, or that the inference that one could make – that they don’t have to be resolved before an agreement is made.”

Kirby told him, “And again, I’d tell you that that interpretation of his comments is incorrect. Let me, if I could, read to you what he actually said to you in your question: ‘On something like possible military dimensions’ – this is from yesterday – ‘the JPOA refers to that and says that it’s got to be addressed in the context of the final product. And that remains true; it has to be. And we have to resolve our questions about it with specificity. Access is very, very critical. It’s always been critical from day one; it remains critical. And we defined that at Lausanne, and those are sorts of fundamental outlines, if you will.’ He later declared, ‘I just said ad nauseam that the IAEA’s concerns about possible military dimensions past and present have to be fully addressed before there’s going to be a deal. And if we don’t – if they don’t get the access that they need to address and resolve their concerns, then there’s not going to be a deal.’”

But now the administration is suggesting these won’t be fully resolved and “[a]n Iranian admission of its past nuclear weapons program is unlikely and is not necessary . . . .”

Further, The Journal notes, “Former U.S. intelligence officials have questioned White House claims that it already knows enough about Iran’s overall program to ensure the Vienna agreement is properly verified.

“They said the U.S. and IAEA initially failed to detect major advances in Iran’s nuclear program, such as the construction of a uranium enrichment facility in the city of Natanz and a heavy water reactor in Arak.

“‘We, of course, do not have total knowledge of how much progress the Iranians had made,’ the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, retired Gen. Michael Hayden, told a recent congressional hearing. ‘I know of no American intelligence officer who could claim that we have absolute knowledge of the Iranian weaponization program.’”


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