The U.S. and its five negotiating partners agreed to let Iran keep more low-enriched uranium (LEU) and other nuclear materials than agreed upon, so Iran could be in compliance with the nuclear deal by the January deadline as cited by Reuters using a report by Washington think tank the Institute for Science and International Security. The institute’s president, former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright said,
“The exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favor Iran.”
The joint commission (U.S., Russia, China, Britain, Germany, France, and European Union) appointed to oversee the Iran nuclear deal reportedly approved the exemptions and agreed to them in secrecy. One official told the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) that if those exemptions had not been given, Iran would not have met its January 16th deadline for beginning economic sanctions relief. Congress was subsequently informed on January 16th only after the exemptions were granted.
The United States maintains that no secret agreements were made regarding the Iran nuclear deal and the exemptions that were reported in the ISIS report. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, Iran deal critic and a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said,
“I was not aware nor did I receive any briefing (on the exemptions).”
Republican Senator Bob Corker, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair, said the Obama administration was,
“[W]illing to accommodate Iran at every turn to implement a flawed agreement that granted Tehran billions in sanction relief and paved the way for the industrialization of its nuclear program.”
As part of the concessions that allowed Iran to exceed uranium limits, the joint commission agreed to exempt unknown quantities of 3.5 percent LEU contained in liquid, solid and sludge wastes stored at Iranian nuclear facilities, according to the report. The agreement restricts Iran to stockpiling only 300 kg of 3.5 percent LEU.
The commission approved a second exemption for an unknown quantity of near 20 percent LEU in “lab contaminant” that was determined to be unrecoverable, the report said. The nuclear agreement requires Iran to fabricate all such LEU into research reactor fuel.
What remains to be seen is what else Iran was either promised or excused from in regards to the nuclear deal the U.S. and P5+1 discussed in “secret.”