Secret Parchin Pact should be released, says Foreign Affairs Chairman again

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency met to discuss verification of the Iran nuclear agreement.  Today’s meeting, held in Vienna, came after the Associated Press reported last week that a side arrangement agreed to by Tehran and the IAEA would allow Iran – instead of international inspectors – to physically carry out the inspection work at a key Iranian military site, long suspected of nuclear bomb work.

Today, the head of the IAEA characterized the arrangement with Iran as “technically sound and consistent with IAEA established safeguards practices.”  Obama Administration officials have described the arrangement between the IAEA and Iran as a routine technical agreement.

Chairman Royce responded: “From what we can tell, this inspection arrangement with Iran is far from established practice.  It is far from routine, as the Obama Administration claims.  And it is very far from what we should find acceptable in an agreement so central to our security.  There is only one sure way to resolve this dispute.  Prove it.  The Obama Administration, working with the IAEA and the other parties to this agreement, should release all the details of this inspection document. 

“Earlier this month, a State Department official testified that the IAEA could adequately inspect this Iranian military base even if its inspectors weren’t physically on site.  Why are we bending over backwards for Tehran?  The burden of proof should be on the country that has lied about and hidden its nuclear program for years. 

“Members of Congress have called for the release of this side arrangement.  But everyone who has signed this deal has incentive to hide it.  The Obama Administration and its negotiating partners don’t want to air the facts.   

“And for the Iranians – the secret Parchin pact sets a precedent.  Whatever access was agreed to for Parchin will likely become the starting point for negotiations with the IAEA over future suspicious locations.  Do we expect any fewer Iranian demands?  Having caved today, will the Obama Administration show resolve tomorrow?   

“The danger is that these ‘side deals’ today help define and undermine the agreement’s verification provisions tomorrow.”

Note:  Earlier this month, Chairman Royce sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry to express his deep concern with the “separate arrangements” established between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding Iran’s past bomb work and access to the Iranian military base at Parchin.  In the letter to Secretary Kerry, Chairman Royce warned that Iran will almost certainly treat the secret arrangements reached with the IAEA as setting a precedent for future inspections of suspicious Iranian sites.