Iran collected its own environmental samples without the presence of international inspectors at the Parchin military base, where experts believe it conducted tests for the development of nuclear weapons, Reuters confirmed on Monday. At the end of August, the Associated Press reported that as part of the secret side agreements reached between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran, the Islamic Republic would be allowed carry out its own testing, in mutually agreed places, while UN inspectors watched on cameras. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told CNN that “'it is not customary at all' for the IAEA to not collect its own samples.” Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards of the IAEA, told CNN, “It is very unusual... I find it really hard to understand why you would let someone else take the samples and only see through the camera.”
For years the IAEA has sought access to Parchin, in part, to determine the breadth of Iran’s work on weaponization, also known as the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of the Iranian nuclear program, for the purposes of establishing a baseline and resolving its unanswered questions. Albright explained that the current arrangements are insufficient for fully resolving outstanding questions relating to atomic work at Parchin. Iran’s self-inspection and the IAEA’s methodology of using cameras and other technologies in place of the physical presence of UN inspectors do not provide the information needed to fully determine Iran’s past work at Parchin. Albright said, "This deal can only work if it can be verified, and it can only be verified if the inspectors have access to the suspect nuclear sites." He has also warned that not fully resolving those questions over the PMDs of Iran’s program “risks rendering an agreement unverifiable by the IAEA.”
When the news broke over the existence of the secret side deals that allow for Iran’s self-inspection, lawmakers were outraged. The Hill reported lawmakers as “fuming” over the news. Furthermore, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Chair of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN that, while in the Situation Room at the White House, she was assured that Iran would not be able to carry out its own inspections: “And I can say in no uncertain terms, without revealing the details that they cannot self-inspect.”
A number of states that have existing sanctions against Iran have signaled their intent to fight federal attempts to lift them, Bloomberg Politics reported Friday.
Thirty states and the District of Columbia restrict investments by pensions and public entities in companies doing business in the country, according to the group United Against Nuclear Iran. Fifteen Republican U.S. governors, including four presidential candidates, last week sent a letter to Obama saying they would fight to keep their constraints if the administration lifts its nuclear-related sanctions. …
The governors, including presidential aspirants Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, John Kasich of Ohio and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, point to a provision in the deal that says the federal government will “actively encourage” state and local officials to “take into account” U.S. policy lifting some sanctions.
“We intend to ensure that the various state-level sanctions that are now in effect remain in effect,” the governors said in their Sept. 8 letter.
The other governors that signed the letter represent Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.
The letter argues that residents of those states “will not be safer as a result of this agreement, much less citizens of countries like Israel which Iran has threatened to destroy.”
Many of our states have divestment policies for state run pension funds and other state investments, as well as restrictions against state contractors being invested in or doing business with the government of Iran.
Paragraph 25 of the Iran nuclear agreement provides that the federal government will “actively encourage” states to lift state-level sanctions such as the divestment and contracting restriction laws. While Secretary Kerry confirmed in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the agreement will not preempt state law because it is not a treaty, we are concerned about what steps your Administration may take to attempt to implement paragraph 25.
Therefore, we wish to make it clear to you in advance of any efforts to implement paragraph 25 that we intend to ensure that the various state-level sanctions that are now in effect remain in effect. These state-level sanctions are critically important and must be maintained.
A Treasury Department spokeswoman clarified to Bloomberg that the Obama administration will talk to local governments to “inform their decisions” about sanctions. (via TheTower.org)