Iran apparently faces little U.S. pressure to fully recount its nuclear past amid a global push to rein in its current efforts, the New York Times reports.
Obama insiders said Iran would never offer a look at many of its sensitive facilities in a possible package deal to assure other countries that it is not seeking a nuclear-arms capacity, the newspaper reported on Tuesday. Negotiators from Washington and five other capitals want to restrict the nation’s bomb-usable nuclear activities under terms they hope to finalize with Tehran by July 20, when an interim accord with the Persian Gulf power is schedule to expire.
Still, no potential agreement would reveal Iran’s level of expertise on matters that could help it to assemble a nuclear bomb if it decided to do so, according to the Times. A lack of full transparency would leave U.S. intelligence officials with the task of ensuring that Iran does not secretly pursue nuclear arms, despite their mixed historical success in conducting such oversight.
A top U.N. nuclear watchdog official added that it is “not possible to find out everything” about Iran’s past nuclear activities, including possible elements geared toward weapons development.
“Some documents have disappeared,” International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Yukiya Amano told the newspaper last week. “Some people have already died. In some cases, Iran does not give us access.”
He added that his organization has “not yet made a specific request” to interview Mohsen Fahkrizadeh, the possible leader of nuclear-arms efforts in Iran.
In Washington, lawmakers on Tuesday aired worries about “the enormous challenge of monitoring and verifying any potential final agreement with Iran,” as House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) put it.
In a classified meeting, panel members “noted that the onus is on Iran to prove that it has not engaged in a covert weapons program,” Royce said in prepared comments.
What We're Following See More »
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.
"President-elect Donald Trump railed against the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his way to winning the White House and has vowed immediately to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation accord. Several of his cabinet picks and other early nominees to top posts, however, have endorsed or spoken favorably about the trade pact, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, announced Wednesday as Mr. Trump’s pick for ambassador to China, and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, Mr. Trump’s pick to head the Department of Defense."