The U.S. and its international partners made secret exemptions for Iran that allowed it to meet deadlines to receive relief from international sanctions that was critical to a landmark international accord, a new report alleged Thursday.
The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security wrote that it learned that Iran’s “nuclear stocks and facilities were not in accordance with JCPOA limits on Implementation Day” referring to the day that the UN’s nuclear watchdog certified Iran sufficiently curbed its program to receive sanctions relief under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The Institute’s authors wrote that the exemptions, and one “loophole”, were related to “the low enriched uranium (LEU) cap of 300 kilograms (kg), some of the near 20 percent LEU, the heavy water cap, and the number of large hot cells allowed to remain in Iran.”
LEU can be refined into weapons-grade uranium.
The exemptions were approved “in secret” by the joint commission created to oversee the agreement’s implementation, according to the report.
A senior “knowledgeable” official told the report’s authors “that if the Joint Commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the JCPOA by Implementation Day.”
President Barack Obama’s administration informed lawmakers of the commission’s decisions on that day – Jan. 16 in a “confidential manner”, according to the report.
The State Department meanwhile denied the existence of any exemptions, stressing that the joint commission “has not and will not loosen” Iran’s commitments under the JCPOA.
“It has not provided any exceptions that would allow Iran to retain or process material, in excess of its JCPOA limits, that it could use in a breakout scenario,” spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
The report’s charges will likely embolden critics of the deal.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has vowed to repeal the agreement if elected.
Author: Michael Hernandez