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Iran was granted ‘secret’ exemptions on nuclear agreement, says report

According to the report, the nuclear exemptions involved relaxing the requirement that Iran must limit its stockpile of low enriched uranium to under 300 kgs.

The US and its allies allegedly granted “secret” exemptions to Iran in last year’s landmark agreement that sought to curb the Islamic country’s nuclear program, according to a controversial new report by a Washington-based think tank. Iran was allowed to sidestep certain conditions by the Joint Commission, the deal’s implementing body, as some of its nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by January 16, 2016 — the Implementation Day, the report claimed quoting a senior official.

“We have learned that some nuclear stocks and facilities were not in accordance with JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) limits on Implementation Day, but in anticipation, the Joint Commission had earlier and secretly exempted them from the JCPOA limits,” David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security said in the report released on Thursday.

According to the report, the exemptions involved relaxing the requirement that Iran must limit its stockpile of low enriched uranium to under 300 kgs, some of the near 20 per cent LEU, the heavy water cap, and the number of large hot cells allowed to remain in the country. The report said the US and its negotiating partners –Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — approved the exemptions.

Albright alleged that the Joint Commission created a Technical Working Group to consider further exemptions to Iran’s stock of 3.5 per cent low enriched uranium. This cap is set at 300 kg of low enriched uranium hexafluoride but Iran apparently has or could exceed the cap if no further exemptions are granted by the Joint Commission, the thinktank said.

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“The decisions of the Joint Commission have not been announced publicly. The Obama administration informed Congress of key Joint Commission decisions on Implementation Day but in a confidential manner,” it said. US officials, however, immediately dismissed the report, insisting Iran was in full compliance with nuclear agreement.

“Iran is in compliance with the agreement. That is a fact that is verified by independent international experts who, because of the agreement, now have the kind of access that is required to verify it,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

“Iran’s nuclear commitments under the JCPOA have not changed. There’s been no moving of the goal post, as it were. The joint commission has always been intended to address implementation issues when they arise,” State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference.

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“The work of the joint commission, as stipulated in the agreement itself, is to be confidential. I also would assert that the joint commission has not and will not loosen any of the commitments and 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,” he said.

Kirby asserted that there has been no loosening of the commitments that Iran is responsible for under the JCPOA. “And 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,” the spokesperson said.

The Trump Campaign was quick to make it a political issue out of it, alleging that the new report raises fresh questions about Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy judgement. “The deeply flawed nuclear deal Hillary Clinton secretly spearheaded with Iran looks worse and worse by the day. “It’s now clear President Obama gave away the store to secure a weak agreement that is full of loopholes, never ultimately blocks Iran from nuclear weapons, emboldens our enemies and funds terrorism,” Lt Gen (rtd) Mike Flynn, from the Trump Campaign said.

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“Hillary Clinton’s continued support of this dangerous deal, which undermines the long-term security interests of the United States and Israel, shows just how bad her judgement really is,” Flynn alleged.

First published on: 02-09-2016 at 07:50:05 am
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