Important omission in WaPo on Iran nuclear deal

The Washington Post runs a front-page article in the July 18 edition that puts an optimistic gloss on the nuclear deal with Iran (“Experts scrutinize accord with Iran – Imperfect deal to curb nuclear programs does the job, diplomats say”).

I don’t know the identity of the optimistic diplomats mentioned in the headline.  But I wonder whether they are fully cognizant of the actual provisions of the nuclear agreement between world powers, led by the U.S., and the Islamic Republic.

In any case, there’s a glaring omission in the dispatch by Carol Morello and Karen DeYoung.  There is no mention that the agreement with Iran provides an ironclad ban on American inspectors.  Tehran won a huge concession – i.e., only inspectors from countries with diplomatic relations with Iran will be permitted to check out suspect nuclear sites.  The U.S. has no diplomatic relations with Iran, so it’s forbidden to provide American inspectors to determine that Iran isn’t cheating.

This is not only an affront to the world’s only superpower, but also, and more importantly, a huge hole in the inspection regime.  No other country can match the technological savvy of American inspectors.  Yet once the deal goes into effect, America will be sitting impotent on the sidelines.

The exclusion of American inspectors undercuts a headline that assures Post readers that the deal, however imperfect, “does the job.”

President Obama claims that verification is the key to the agreement with Iran.  Verification already has taken a big hit even before the agreement with Iran takes effect.

For all these reasons, this insistence by Tehran to ban American inspectors – and U.S. acquiescence – undercuts any basic trust in the implementation of this nuclear deal with Tehran.

Washington Post readers deserve better.  And so do the American people.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.

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