Iran will be permitted to inspect a suspected nuclear work site themselves under a secret deal reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to documents obtained on Wednesday by the Associated Press.
The Parchin Agreement, named for the site where Iran was believed to be developing a nuclear weapon, was a secret agreement brokered between the IAEA and Iran. It was separate from the deal reached last month between the US, Iran, and five other nations, but the US was aware of its details and had previously endorsed it.
The AP initially reported Wednesday that the document stated that Iranian inspectors would take samples of the site themselves "using Iran's authenticated equipment consistent with technical specifications provided by the agency [IAEA]." But the AP revised its report several hours later, saying that the document showed the IAEA would ensure the authenticity of the inspection, but did not specify how.
The White House has repeatedly denied that the Parchin Agreement was a "side deal" that allowed Iran to keep building its nuclear weapon capabilities in secret. But this revelation will likely spark criticism that Iran is being allowed to do just that, by controlling the investigation itself without any international oversight, said the AP.
The document shows that Iran will be able to cite vague military concerns to prevent the IAEA from physically entering or even receiving photographs or video of the Parchin site, the AP reported. The agreement is unusual, considering that the UN agency has kept a close watch on Iran's alleged efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. Much of last month's deal was based on trust that Iran would comply.
Intelligence from the IAEA, Israel, and the US has shown that Iran has previously tested nuclear explosions at the Parchin military site, but tried to hide evidence of it from inspectors, according to the AP. Iran has repeatedly denied building a nuclear weapon at the Parchin facility.
The nuclear deal reached on July 14 is subject to a Congressional vote in September. Opponents of the deal will likely cite the Parchin Agreement as another major reason to overturn it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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