Secret side deal in Iran nuclear agreement

The agreement reached between the 6 powers and Iran over the weekend contains a secret side deal that will allow the Iranians to continue "research and development" of their nuclear program.

The entire 30 page agreement is a secret. Only parts of it are expected to be released. Apparently, the politicians don't want it known how much they've caved in to the Iranian's demand that they can continue enriching uranium.

Los Angles Times:

The new agreement, announced over the weekend, sets out a timetable for how Iran and the six nations, led by the United States, will implement a deal reached in November that is aimed at restraining Iran's nuclear ambitions.

When officials from Iran and the world powers announced that they had completed the implementing agreement, they didn't release the text of the deal, nor did they acknowledge the existence of an informal addendum.

In the interview, Araqchi referred to the side agreement using the English word "nonpaper," a diplomatic term used for an informal side agreement that doesn't have to be disclosed publicly.

The nonpaper deals with such important details as the operation of a joint commission to oversee how the deal is implemented and Iran's right to continue nuclear research and development during the next several months, he said.

Araqchi described the joint commission as an influential body that will have authority to decide disputes. U.S. officials have described it as a discussion forum rather than a venue for arbitrating major disputes.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the text of the implementing agreement would be released to lawmakers. He said the six parties were weighing how much of the text they could release publicly.

Asked late Monday about the existence of the informal nonpaper, White House officials referred the question to the State Department. A State Department comment wasn't immediately available.

Keeping secrets from citizens on such a vital matter is what the Iranians might prefer, but should have been rejected by the world's leading democracies. The Iranian negotiator gives us a hint why the deal will remain mostly under wraps:

U.S. officials said Sunday that Iran would be allowed to continue existing research and development projects and with pencil-and-paper design work, but not to advance research with new projects. Araqchi, however, implied that the program would have wide latitude.

"No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded," he said. "All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue."

The research and development issue has been an important one for many U.S. lawmakers, who fear that Iran will try to forge ahead with its nuclear program while the negotiations are underway. At an administration briefing for senators Monday, members of both parties raised concerns about the centrifuge research issue, aides said.

President Obama on Monday again hailed the implementing agreement and appealed to Congress not to impose new sanctions on Iran, for fear of driving the country from the bargaining table.

Obviously the agreement was written so that both sides could interpret it the way they wanted. This is an old negotiating trick we saw quite often when SALT and START were being implemented. The Soviets were free to interpret certain sections of an agreement as they chose while we did the same. Usually, it was the only way for a treaty to be successfully completed.

There will be a vote in the House this week on new Iran sanctions, but Harry Reid has indicated that the Senate will not consider it. Meanwhile, Iranians continue their "research and development" for their nuclear program which no one seems particularly interested in stopping.

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