No, AP, Iran doesn’t get to Inspect its own Nuclear Facilities under Deal

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Eminent Iran and security expert Gary Sick pointed out in an email late Wednesday that the Associated Press just ran a shamefully inaccurate story alleging that under the UN Security Council deal with Iran, Iran would carry out some of the inspections of their own “sensitive sites.”

The accord actually provides for the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency always to be present at such inspections. The reason for the presence of Iranian experts is that there is a long history of outside nuclear teams being sent in by the Great Powers for espionage. I.e., the Iranian inspectors are there to keep an eye on the UN inspectors, not to cover up Iranian activities (to which the IAEA will have full access). The 1990s UN inspections of Iraq were infiltrated, for instance, by US intelligence.

Sick points to a note put up 3 weeks ago by the Arms Control Association’s entitled “P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert” (July 30):

Would the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] Depend on Iran for Nuclear Residue Testing? No.

Congressional critics of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] are misinterpreting information received in briefings about the process for IAEA inspections at sensitive sites. Under managed access procedures that may be employed the IAEA, the inspected party may take environmental swipe samples at a particular site in the presence of the IAEA inspectors using swabs and containment bags provided by the IAEA to prevent cross contamination. According to former IAEA officials, this is an established procedure.

Such swipe samples collected at suspect sites under managed access would likely be divided into six packages: three are taken by the IAEA for analysis at its Seibersdorf Analytical Lab and two to be sent to the IAEA’s Network of Analytical Labs (NWAL), which comprises some 16 labs in different countries, and another package to be kept under joint IAEA and Iran seal at the IAEA office in Iran a backup and control sample if re-analysis might be required at a later stage. The process ensures the integrity of the inspection operation and the samples for all parties.

The AP should retract its inaccurate allegations. At this sensitive point in the political campaign by the US Right Wing against the UNSC deal reached with Iran at Vienna, such disinformation could be highly consequential if it convinces, e.g. wavering Democrats in the House or Senate that the deal is flawed (which it is not).

Update: AP has removed most of its allegations from the story. For more see Max Fischer at Vox

For rebuttal of another false charge against the deal, that it is dangerous for Iran to be able to stall 24 days from having inspectors visit sensitive or military sites, listen to the refutation by a nuclear scientist and adviser to the British government the at Scott Horton’s show.

One of the problems scientists face is that their work is often complicated and hard to explain in sound bites. As with global warming and lung cancer from cigarette smoking, so nuclear inspections are an arcane subject on which the public can easily be confused by loudmouthed ignorant bluster by interested parties. Poor American science and math education also leaves the public without basic tools and ways of thinking needed to participate fully in a modern democracy. And although I admire so many of my colleagues in journalism, it also has to be admitted that some people advertised as journalists just aren’t very good– there are always the Judy Millers (who gullibly sold the Iraq War), or others who are generalists trying to report on a technical subject in which they have no expertise.

PPS Thurs. afternoon: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, who has been a strong critic of Iran, has intervened in this debate to slap AP down:

Statement by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

20 August 2015

I am disturbed by statements suggesting that the IAEA has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran. Such statements misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work.

The separate arrangements under the Road-map agreed between the IAEA and Iran in July are confidential and I have a legal obligation not to make them public – the same obligation I have for hundreds of such arrangements made with other IAEA Member States.

However, I can state that the arrangements are technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices. They do not compromise our safeguards standards in any way.

The Road-map between Iran and the IAEA is a very robust agreement, with strict timelines, which will help us to clarify past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme.

Related video:

Lugar Center: “Senator Lugar discusses the Iran nuclear deal and ISIS on MSNBC”

18 Responses

  1. Correcting an inaccuracy issued in Good Faith is one thing, but this strikes me as an example of indirect Bad Faith manipulation. I’d call a spade a spade. If one did a forensic examination of what led to inaccuracies in the AP story I suspect it would not be due to simple careless reporting. My criticism here is that you’re being too polite, but maybe that’s to the best…

    This seems like a good place to leave a positively affirmative post from a prof at Tufts about the Iran deal:

    link to

    It boils down to observing how if the deal is torpedoed and the US duly manipulated into bombing Iran, it will have irredeemably consolidated the rest of the world (due to cold, hard, economic interests), against its blatant and totally irresponsible imperialism. This case will be merely the limb that breaks the camel’s back. At the end of the day it’ll work out for the best.

    If the deal is successfully implemented it’ll be the end of Business As Usual for Israel, and the other way it’ll be the end for the US as well.

  2. Hey, rational spokespersons, repeat after me:

    “They’re telling you lies”, or “That’s what you heard, but you’re repeating a lie.” Call out the lie, use the L-word, but don’t call them liars.

    Oh noes! — What if there’s pushback and fuss about calling out lies? What will people think, or maybe learn?

  3. “…some people advertised as journalists just aren’t very good”

    Alas, all too true. Several journalists at DOS briefings simply cannot take on board the notion that anything reliable might occur that is not overseen by the US, and in consequence they assume that since they are not given details of the monitoring agreement between the IAEA and Iran there must be something fishy about it.

    They cannot understand why the agreement between the IAEA and a target nation is confidential, so they worry at the issue like puppies at a slipper.

    Nor are they able to grasp the two-dimensional notion that because the IAEA has agreements with all nations it monitors, having an agreement with Iran is standard practice, but since the agreements with each nation necessarily differ, each, including that with Iran, is unique. ‘If you say it’s standard practice, how can it be unique?’, one asked.

    It does the US no favours to find a reply like this from the retired US Rear Admiral, now spokesperson for the DOS.

    QUESTION: So would it be fair to describe the Obama Administration as exasperated with Salva Kiir and his government

    MR KIRBY: No, I’m not going to throw an adverb (sic) on it here.

    • Having read yesterday’s DOS briefing, link to, I am more than ever persuaded that the problem here is reluctance to accept the US position as a member of an international team dealing with this issue. ‘Brad’ even suggests Kerry should get the IAEA to show the confidential agreement they have with Iran to those members of Congress who express continued unease about the whole thing. It puts me in mind of the story of a British traveler arriving at immigration in New York after WW11 and asking: I see that US citizens go there and foreigners that way, but where do the British go?

  4. Good points. However, the world knows that any ME atomic discussion that excludes Israel is not serious, That the rhetoric is made valid by the gun.

  5. This is not surprising to me that AP made this “mistake “. I have found that when it comes to Iran or ME war related reporting, the AP always leans towards hawkish militaristic propaganda. They consistently and often falsely repeat disproven allegations and are not held accountable for it.
    Next time you read an critical article like this note who is the publisher? I bet it will be AP.
    Which begs the question, who’s behind AP reporting?

  6. On the PBS Newshour on Wednesday night, Judy Woodruff opened her segment on the Iran nuclear deal with the AP claim. I wonder if she will make a correction tonight?

    • PBS has been horrible lately. Last week Judy Woodruff exclaimed (falsely) that Al-Baghdadi was DEAD! Something wrong with that channel!

  7. From the reporting leading up to the Iraq War, reporting on Israel in Gaza and now this, the US media have a lot to answer for. This case is not just careless reporting since the AP deliberately left out contradictory language from the document they quoted. While we don’t want government regulation of the media, people need to do something demanding more accurate and unbiased reporting.

  8. Has anyone here actually read the “side agreement”? Among other points: “1. Iran will provide to the Agency photos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.” Possibly a cause for concern?

    • The IAEA has side agreements between itself and countries that signed the NPT which are kept secret. Why? Because many of the non-nuclear sites are military sites. No country in the world, certainly not the US or RUssia or China is going to let inspectors in to sensitive military installations without advance notice and preparation. Lindsay Graham is a punk trying to play in the big leagues, as if the whole international non-proliferation system will turn on Congress’s request. Guess what? Iran has military secrets: name a nation that doesn’t. Iran, like others, has a right to its own military and self-defense! Geez, IT is just getting ridiculous. I doubt seriously whatever you read was the Iran/IAEA agreement.

  9. The AP has not functioned as a news bureau for a very long time. It is, rather, a propaganda arm of the US national security state. Seriously, look at how the AP covers any international issue – from Ukraine, to the Pivot to Asia, and etc. How naive of you to imagine that a free and independent press exists in the US.

  10. This is what Aipac is putting out about the AP Iran inspecting Parchin misrepresented details
    “Yesterday, the Associated Press published a critical report that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will permit Iran to use its own inspectors to investigate the Parchin military facility. This major new development uncovers troubling insights into secret side agreements between Iran and the IAEA. While some have questioned the accuracy of this report, AP confirmed its story yesterday and released the text of the draft agreement. AIPAC sent the memo below to all congressional offices this afternoon. Please call your members of Congress today and urge them to oppose any deal that allows Iranian self-inspection.


    Brian Shankman
    Director of Regional Affairs and Development”
    – See more at: link to

  11. Is it any wonder the polls say that 51% oppose the deal when you have the goddamn media in the pocket of the war mongers and profiteers?

  12. $40 million being spent on Israeli propaganda on U.S. media waves. Way over due for Aipac to be required to sign up under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. UANI group doing those endless ads too.

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