Confusion over alleged nuclear site inspections in Iran

On Wednesday, the Associated Press (AP) reported an exclusive story citing an anonymous source who provided documents seeming to prove that Iran would be allowed to self-inspect a suspected military nuclear research site at Parchin. Included in the article were lengthy reactions by critics of the Iran Nuclear Deal who used the arrangement negotiated between the IAEA and Iran as an example off one of the secret classified “side deal” concessions made by the Obama Administration.

Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms, operating under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press.

The revelation on Wednesday newly riled Republican lawmakers in the U.S. who have been severely critical of a broader agreement to limit Iran’s future nuclear programs, signed by the Obama administration, Iran and five world powers in July. Those critics have complained that the wider deal is unwisely built on trust of the Iranians, while the administration has insisted it depends on reliable inspections.

A skeptical House Speaker John Boehner said, “President Obama boasts his deal includes `unprecedented verification.’ He claims it’s not built on trust. But the administration’s briefings on these side deals have been totally insufficient – and it still isn’t clear whether anyone at the White House has seen the final documents.”

According to Vox, however, the arrangements surrounding investigating Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) at the Parchin site were long expected by experts in nuclear inspections and completely within the normal IAEA process. It is thought that Parchin has been idle since 2002 and that extensive efforts to clean and renovate the site would have made the likelihood of finding conclusive evidence of PMD to be highly unlikely in any scenario.

The AP denies that later revisions of the story¬†were reworded to “back off” the assertions made in the original version, rather that some background information had to be removed to make room for reaction quotes from detractors of the Iran Nuclear Deal.

AP has also released additional items on Thursday further clarifying aspects of the IAEA and Iranian agreement, including the text of the draft agreement that had been provided by their original source.

[AP] [Vox] [Photo courtesy Business Insider]