Iran’s parliament voted Sunday to approve legislation that would forbid international inspectors from accessing military sites as part of any nuclear accord with the West.
The legislation, which is in line with pronouncements of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior Iranian officials, would block one of the crucial elements of any nuclear deal. As The Wall Street Journal reported (Google link):
Mr. Khamenei and other senior Iranian officials have looked to limit or block inspections of the country’s military sites, one of the outstanding issues ahead of the June deadline. Under the legislation, Iran wouldn’t allow international inspectors onto military bases and would also bar interviews with its nuclear scientists.
The U.S. and other Western countries have long suspected Iran of using military bases as nuclear research and test sites. Parchin, one of the bases near Tehran, was at one point thought to be testing missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads. Iran hasn’t allowed international inspectors into the complex since 2004.
“All parties to the negotiation are well aware of what is necessary for a final deal, including the access and transparency that will meet our bottom lines,” a State Department official said on Sunday. “We won’t agree to a deal without that.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, on the other hand, has said that a nuclear deal with Iran would be “useless” without inspections of military sites. Yishai Schwartz of the Brookings Institution’s Lawfare blog pointed out that inspection of military sites is a standard feature of past nuclear agreements, and that Iran was asking for a special exemption. Schwartz called inspections of military sites a “no-brainer,” and urged the United States to follow France’s lead in pressing the demand.
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