Did the administration promise 'anytime, anywhere' Iran inspections?

The question of how the administration characterized the inspections regime they were negotiating with Iran became an issue on Fox and Friends yesterday.  John Kerry got a little testy when asked if he or President Obama had ever promised "anytime, anywhere" inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in a testy interview on Fox News, said neither he nor President Obama ever promised "anywhere, anytime" inspections for the Iran deal.

Instead, he said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz had made that statement before entering into the nuclear talks with Iran and other world powers.

What the U.S. and its negotiating partners secured, he said, is "managed access," a time window of 24 days to inspect suspicious sites and a process in which any country can make an appeal to the United Nations to gain access.

If there is evidence of nuclear development or they don't provide access to the site, the U.N. would then have the ability to "snap back" all the sanctions, something Kerry said has "never existed previously."

"Chris, don't play a game here," Kerry told "Fox News Sunday's" Chris Wallace. "The fact is in arms control, there is no country anywhere on this planet that has 'anywhere, anytime' — there is no such standard within arms inspections."

"We've never had a discussion about 'anywhere, anytime,' " he repeated. "It's called managed access under the [International Atomic Energy Agency], and everyone understands it and the intelligence community has made it clear to us they did before we signed onto this deal — that we would be able to know that they are doing in that intervening time."

If the administration didn't promise specifically that there would be "anytime, anywhere" inspections, they certainly led everyone to believe that that was the case.

Politifact checked into the administration's claims about IAEA inspections and what they said about them, in fact-checking a Marco Rubio statement about how strict the inspections regime would be:

We located at least one, and possibly two, instances in which Ben Rhodes -- an assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for strategic communications and speechwriting -- said the deal would include "anytime, anywhere" inspections.

One of Rhodes’ comments came in an interview with Tapper on April 6, 2015.Tapper asked Rhodes, "So the Israelis have put out this list of things that they think should be in the final deal with Iran, including allowing inspectors to go anywhere, anytime. That seems perfectly reasonable, no?"

Rhodes responded, "Well, Jake, first of all, under this deal, you will have anywhere, anytime 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has."

The second of Rhodes’ comments came on the same day, in an interview with Israel's Channel 10, April 6, 2015. After objecting to the paraphrases used in a widely cited Times of Israel article about the interview, the White House sent us a transcript of the exchange.

Rhodes was asked, "Will the IAEA have the ability to visit anywhere, anytime?"

Rhodes responded, "Yes, if we see something we want to inspect. So in the first case we will have ‘anytime anywhere’ access to all of the nuclear facilities. We’ll have the ability to look across all of their supply chain, their uranium mines and mills, their centrifuge production and storage facilities. But I think what you're mainly referring to is if there's a suspicious site, for instance, on a military base in Iran, and we want to seek access to that we will be able to go to the IAEA, and get that inspection because of the additional protocol of the IAEA that Iran will be joining, and some of the additional transparency and inspection measures that are in the deal."

Much of the coverage has focused on Rhodes’ agreement with the interviewer’s words that the IAEA will "have the ability to visit anywhere, anytime." The White House notes, however, that Rhodes’ full comments are more nuanced, spelling out the more complicated -- and not instantaneous -- process of inspecting suspicious sites not already cited in the agreement.

So we see one pretty clear statement, plus one somewhat less clear statement, made by the Obama administration that backs up Rubio’s claim.

Kerry is right to claim there's no other similar agreement that features an "anytime, anywhere" inspection regime.  But the real question is why the administration let on that this would be the case in any agreement with Iran.  Here is President Obama on the question of inspections in 2012:

In a Rose Garden address on April 2, 2015, four days before Rhodes’ televised comments, Obama said: "Iran will face strict limitations on its program, and Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history. … International inspectors will have unprecedented access not only to Iranian nuclear facilities, but to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program -- from uranium mills that provide the raw materials, to the centrifuge production and storage facilities that support the program."

Obama repeated the sentiment in his weekly address on April 4, 2015, and the message was echoed by others -- including Rhodes himself. At a press briefing at Camp David May 14, 2015, Rhodes said, "Under this agreement that we're pursuing with the Iranians, (the nuclear) program will be rolled back and face significant limitations that it doesn’t currently face, and there will be the most intrusive inspections regime of any arms control agreement that we've ever had."

Compared to the reality of what was finally negotiated, the statement is misleading and could be construed as a lie.

Remember, this is the White House interpretation of the inspection regime.  If the past is any guide, the Iranians have a completely different idea of what they are required to do as far as inspections are concerned.  I doubt they would agree that the regime is as "intrusive" as the White House says.

The question of how the administration characterized the inspections regime they were negotiating with Iran became an issue on Fox and Friends yesterday.  John Kerry got a little testy when asked if he or President Obama had ever promised "anytime, anywhere" inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in a testy interview on Fox News, said neither he nor President Obama ever promised "anywhere, anytime" inspections for the Iran deal.

Instead, he said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz had made that statement before entering into the nuclear talks with Iran and other world powers.

What the U.S. and its negotiating partners secured, he said, is "managed access," a time window of 24 days to inspect suspicious sites and a process in which any country can make an appeal to the United Nations to gain access.

If there is evidence of nuclear development or they don't provide access to the site, the U.N. would then have the ability to "snap back" all the sanctions, something Kerry said has "never existed previously."

"Chris, don't play a game here," Kerry told "Fox News Sunday's" Chris Wallace. "The fact is in arms control, there is no country anywhere on this planet that has 'anywhere, anytime' — there is no such standard within arms inspections."

"We've never had a discussion about 'anywhere, anytime,' " he repeated. "It's called managed access under the [International Atomic Energy Agency], and everyone understands it and the intelligence community has made it clear to us they did before we signed onto this deal — that we would be able to know that they are doing in that intervening time."

If the administration didn't promise specifically that there would be "anytime, anywhere" inspections, they certainly led everyone to believe that that was the case.

Politifact checked into the administration's claims about IAEA inspections and what they said about them, in fact-checking a Marco Rubio statement about how strict the inspections regime would be:

We located at least one, and possibly two, instances in which Ben Rhodes -- an assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for strategic communications and speechwriting -- said the deal would include "anytime, anywhere" inspections.

One of Rhodes’ comments came in an interview with Tapper on April 6, 2015.Tapper asked Rhodes, "So the Israelis have put out this list of things that they think should be in the final deal with Iran, including allowing inspectors to go anywhere, anytime. That seems perfectly reasonable, no?"

Rhodes responded, "Well, Jake, first of all, under this deal, you will have anywhere, anytime 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has."

The second of Rhodes’ comments came on the same day, in an interview with Israel's Channel 10, April 6, 2015. After objecting to the paraphrases used in a widely cited Times of Israel article about the interview, the White House sent us a transcript of the exchange.

Rhodes was asked, "Will the IAEA have the ability to visit anywhere, anytime?"

Rhodes responded, "Yes, if we see something we want to inspect. So in the first case we will have ‘anytime anywhere’ access to all of the nuclear facilities. We’ll have the ability to look across all of their supply chain, their uranium mines and mills, their centrifuge production and storage facilities. But I think what you're mainly referring to is if there's a suspicious site, for instance, on a military base in Iran, and we want to seek access to that we will be able to go to the IAEA, and get that inspection because of the additional protocol of the IAEA that Iran will be joining, and some of the additional transparency and inspection measures that are in the deal."

Much of the coverage has focused on Rhodes’ agreement with the interviewer’s words that the IAEA will "have the ability to visit anywhere, anytime." The White House notes, however, that Rhodes’ full comments are more nuanced, spelling out the more complicated -- and not instantaneous -- process of inspecting suspicious sites not already cited in the agreement.

So we see one pretty clear statement, plus one somewhat less clear statement, made by the Obama administration that backs up Rubio’s claim.

Kerry is right to claim there's no other similar agreement that features an "anytime, anywhere" inspection regime.  But the real question is why the administration let on that this would be the case in any agreement with Iran.  Here is President Obama on the question of inspections in 2012:

In a Rose Garden address on April 2, 2015, four days before Rhodes’ televised comments, Obama said: "Iran will face strict limitations on its program, and Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history. … International inspectors will have unprecedented access not only to Iranian nuclear facilities, but to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program -- from uranium mills that provide the raw materials, to the centrifuge production and storage facilities that support the program."

Obama repeated the sentiment in his weekly address on April 4, 2015, and the message was echoed by others -- including Rhodes himself. At a press briefing at Camp David May 14, 2015, Rhodes said, "Under this agreement that we're pursuing with the Iranians, (the nuclear) program will be rolled back and face significant limitations that it doesn’t currently face, and there will be the most intrusive inspections regime of any arms control agreement that we've ever had."

Compared to the reality of what was finally negotiated, the statement is misleading and could be construed as a lie.

Remember, this is the White House interpretation of the inspection regime.  If the past is any guide, the Iranians have a completely different idea of what they are required to do as far as inspections are concerned.  I doubt they would agree that the regime is as "intrusive" as the White House says.