- Iranian official says won't accept snap inspections of nuclear sites, undermining foundation of any inspections regime
According to the Associated Press, an Iranian official insisted that Iran would not accept snap inspections of nuclear sites, highlighting Iran’s continued refusal to comply with international commitments and further complicating efforts to reach an agreement. In an interview with PBS Tuesday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano said, “The important things [sic] is that Iran needs to agree to implement the powerful verification tool, which is called the Additional Protocol.” The principal aim of the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty is “to enable the IAEA inspectorate to provide assurance about both declared and possible undeclared activities. Under the Protocol, the IAEA is granted expanded rights of access to information and sites.” The Additional Protocol allows for snap inspections. Because Iran is not implementing the Additional Protocol, and because they have not clarified the potential military dimensions of their nuclear program, Amano said that the IAEA “cannot say that all the activities in Iran is in peaceful purposes [sic].”
The administration has made a strong verification regime a central component of its argument for the nuclear agreement with Iran. Its officials have told members of Congress they have received “promises by the Islamic republic to allow snap inspections of its facilities.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has repeatedly insisted that in the deal underway, Iran will have to “agree to historically intrusive inspections so that we can verify their compliance with the agreement.”
Last Friday, 367 House members wrote a letter to the President highlighting the “grave and urgent issues” relevant to the current negotiations and insisting that “any inspection and verification regime must allow for short notice access to suspect locations.” At a hearing in January, Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that a final deal “must allow inspections anywhere, anytime unannounced.” Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-Calif.) stated that “Iran’s deception is all the more reason that the Administration should obtain zero-notice, anywhere, anytime inspections on Iran’s declared and undeclared facilities.”
The United States acceded to a request from Israel not to attend today's session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, The Jerusalem Post reported:
The United States on Monday joined Israel in boycotting the United Nations Human Rights Council debate Monday on Israeli violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories.
The UNHRC is mandated at every session to use Agenda Item 7 for a debate on this matter. There is no such mandate to repeatedly censure any other country.
Since taking office, US President Barack Obama has made eliminating Agenda Item 7 one of his policy objectives.
The Post explained that Israel regularly requests that its allies not participate in the "debate" over Agenda Item 7, and the United States did not participate in line with the request.
Emergency relief teams from IsraAID are bringing additional food, water and other aid to starving islanders. Israel has been sending aid to the tiny Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, after it was ravaged by a category 5 cyclone earlier this month. The archipelago, which has a population of nearly 300,000 scattered over 65 inhabited islands, was hit by the devastating Cyclone Pam on March 13. Winds of 320 kilometers per hour wreaked havoc on the tiny islands, killing 17 people and leaving an estimated 65,000 homeless. Two days after the storm, Vanuatu, a former French colony, declared a state of emergency, and the nation’s president, Baldwin Lonsdale, called for international aid at a conference in Japan attended by UN agencies and the Israeli relief agency IsraAID. IsraAID responded immediately, sending an emergency relief team to the area with supplies of food and water. The team traveled to the village of Eratap to meet the president and assess the situation, and also spent time in the capital, Port Vila, to coordinate efforts with government officials and UN agencies. During the coming week, more IsraAID professionals are expected to arrive in Vanuatu, as the organization continues to support local communities during this emergency. (via Israel21c)