354 U.S. lawmakers press Kerry on Iran nuclear transparency

The Iran nuclear program's Arak heavy water reactor. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, 354 members of the U.S. House of Representatives pressed Kerry to insist on full Iranian transparency regarding its nuclear program with international inspectors as nuclear negotiations resume between Iran and the P5+1—the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog group, has sought information of “potential military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program. But in a Sept. 5 report, the IAEA said that Iran has failed to meet deadlines outlined by a November 2013 deal in which Iran agreed to work with the IAEA on inspections of its nuclear facilities, including its secretive Parchin military base. 

“We believe that Iran’s willingness to fully reveal all aspects of its nuclear program is a fundamental test of Iran’s intention to uphold a comprehensive agreement,” the lawmakers, spearheaded by Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), wrote in the Oct. 1 letter to Kerry. 

“We are concerned that an agreement that accepts Iran’s lack of transparency on this key issue would set the dangerous precedent that certain facilities and aspects of Iran’s nuclear program can be declared off limits by Tehran, resulting in additional wide-ranging restrictions on IAEA inspectors, and making effective verification virtually impossible,” they wrote.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) commended the letter.

“The overwhelmingly bipartisan support for this letter reflects Congress’s determination to ensure that any agreement with Iran must prevent Tehran from attaining a nuclear weapons capability,” AIPAC said in a statement.

Posted on October 2, 2014 .