Once again President Obama’s administration, which bills itself as “the most transparent in history,” has proven itself to be anything but, and the ramifications in this instance could affect security on a global scale.
The United States and its negotiating partners in last year’s Iran nuclear deal agreed to “secret” exemptions that allowed the state supporter of terrorism to dodge restrictions in order to meet a deadline to relieve economic sanctions to Iran, Reuters reported.
The findings are based on a report to be released Thursday by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Science and International Security, according to the think tank’s president, David Albright, who co-authored the report and is a former U.N. weapons inspector .
The report is based on information collected from officials of the P5+1 countries that were involved in the negotiations. The term refers to the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States — plus Germany.
“The exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favor Iran,” Albright told Reuters.
One “knowledgeable” official claimed that had the countries not agreed to the exemptions, Iran could not have complied with the restrictions by January 16, when economic restrictions were scheduled to be lifted.
Two of those secret exemptions allowed Iran to exceed the agreement’s limits of low-grade uranium it was allowed to store at its nuclear facilities. The problem here is that low-grade uranium can be purified into weapons-grade uranium.
The report runs counter to President Obama’s repeated claims that there were no secret under-the-table provisions that were made a part of the Iran nuclear agreement.
A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the joint commission and its role were “not secret.” He did not address the report’s assertions of exemptions.
Diplomats at the United Nations for the other P5+1 countries did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment on the report.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has vowed to renegotiate the agreement if elected, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been long critical.
A White House official told Reuters that the administration had briefed Congress “frequently and comprehensively” on negotiations with Iran.
No true, said Sen. Bob Menendez, a leading critic of the deal and a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I was not aware nor did I receive any briefing (on the exemptions),” the New Jersey Democrat told Reuters in an email.
Albright said that a more far-reaching risk of the exemptions is the possibility that they could be used as precedent for granting Iran additional exemptions down the road.
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