Secret exemptions granted to Iran for nuclear deal

Washington, United States Updated: Mar 01, 2018, 02:47 PM(IST)

Iran?s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by Implementation Day if the exemptions had not been created for them. (Representative image) Photograph:( Getty )

The United States and its negotiating partners granted secret exemptions to Iran that allowed the country to launch their nuclear program in January this year, according a report published yesterday.

The report released by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security is based on information provided by several officials of governments involved in the negotiations, Reuters reported.

'One senior knowledgeable official stated that if the Joint Commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by Implementation Day,' the report stated.

The report said that the JCPOA had placed some limitations on Iran's nuclear program that needed to be met by January 16, 2016.

Most of the conditions were met by Iran, the report said. But some of the 'nuclear stocks and facilities were not in accordance with JCPOA limits on Implementation Day', the authors of the report David Albright and Andrea Stricker found.

A statement issued by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign pointed a finger towards Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Reuters reported.

"The deeply flawed nuclear deal Hillary Clinton secretly spearheaded with Iran looks worse and worse by the day," said retired Army General Michael Flynn, a top Trump adviser. "It’s now clear President Obama gave away the store to secure a weak agreement that is full of loopholes."

White House criticised the report yesterday, defending its approval of Iran's nuclear program.

"Iran is in compliance with the agreement. That's not my opinion. That's not rhetoric. That is not a conjecture. That is a fact that is verified by independent international experts who, because of the agreement, now have the kind of access that is required to verify it," CNN reported spokesman Josh Earnest as saying.

The report included a 3-point list on the exemptions that were in effect on Implementation Day.

The exemptions included a loophole involving the amount of low enriched uranium the country was allowed to keep in storage. Iran. According to 'one knowledgeable senior official', Iran would have exceeded the 300-kilogram limitation if the exemptions had not been given.

The commission also allowed Iran to operate 19 hot cells larger than specified dimensions which could be 'misused for secret, small-scale plutonium separation efforts'. Plutonium is one of the most commonly used material for nuclear weapons.

The authors asserted that the decision to keep the exemptions confidential was a 'potentially agreement-weakening decision' by the Joint Commission. 'United States should agree to any exemptions or loopholes in the JCPOA only if the decisions are simultaneously made public,' the authors said.

The authors raised a question on whether Iran was using the leeway given to them to 'weaken as many JCPOA limitations as possible'. The think-tank report called for the exemption process and the joint commission decision to be transparent.

You can read the original report here:

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