U.S. agreed to allow Iran “secret exemptions” to meet nuke deal deadline, report says


(JNS.org) The United States and its international partners agreed “in secret” to allow Iran to evade certain restrictions in the landmark nuclear deal in order for the Islamic Republic to meet its deadline for international sanctions relief, a new report states.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. 

The report, released by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, which based its information from several government officials involved in the negotiations, said that had these exemptions not be implemented, Iran would have failed to meet its Jan. 16 compliance date.

"The exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favor Iran," said David Albright, a former United Nations weapons inspector and co-author of the report, Reuters reported.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest took significant exception to the report’s findings, saying “the implementation date was driven by the ability of the (International Atomic Energy Agency) to verify that Iran had completed the steps that they promised to take.”

Among the exceptions outlined in the report include two that allowed Iran to exceed the deal’s limits on the quantity of low-enriched uranium (LEU) which can be used to make highly enriched and weapons grade uranium.

According to the report, the joint commission agreed to exempt unknown quantity of 3.5 percent LEU contained in liquid, solid and sludge wastes stored at Iranian nuclear facilities. The nuclear agreement restricts Iran to stockpiling only 300 kg of 3.5 LEU.  Additionally, the commission also approved a second exemption for an unknown quantity of near 20 percent of LEU to be held in “lab containment,” the report said.

If the total amount of excess LEU is unknown, it is impossible to determine how much weapons-grade uranium it could yield, experts in the report said.  

The report also said Iran was allowed to keep 19 radiation containment chambers, which can be “misused for secret, mostly small-scale plutonium separation efforts.” Plutonium can be also used as a nuclear weapons fuel. 

Posted on September 2, 2016 .