Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee claimed the nuclear deal "lets Iran do their own inspections." That's wrong.
Under the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency would have daily access to and continuous monitoring at declared nuclear sites for at least 15 years. Huckabee was likely referring to a confidential side deal covering inspections at Parchin, a military site suspected of connections to nuclear weapon development. But the issue of inspections at that site is in dispute.
The Associated Press on Aug. 19 wrote that a draft copy of the agreement indicated that "Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate." IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano responded to the AP article saying, "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." Amano said claims of self-inspections "misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work" at Parchin.
Tariq Rauf, who once headed IAEA's Verification and Security Policy Coordination Office, explained how that process could work: "Under regular IAEA safeguards inspections, Agency inspectors carry out the swiping and collection of samples, as at Bushehr, Esfahan, Natanz, Fordow and elsewhere in Iran. Parchin being a military industrial facility is not subject to regular IAEA safeguards as it is not a "nuclear facility" as defined for purposes of IAEA safeguards. The IAEA, however, can request and obtain access to a facility such as Parchin under "managed access" provisions of Iran's Additional Protocol (AP) to its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. It would be unusual but by no means technically compromising to have Iranian technicians collect swipe samples at sites and locations at Parchin in the physical presence and direct line of sight of IAEA inspectors, including filming, and using swipe kits and collection bags provided by the IAEA."
Annex 1, Section Q, paragraphs 75-78 of the Plan have received much criticism. The paragraphs represent a half-page of the 159-page plan. They allow up to 24 days for IAEA inspections of suspected undeclared nuclear materials or activities inconsistent with the Plan. Iran and the IAEA have 14 days to resolve the access issue. If unable to reach an agreement, the Joint Commission has 7 days to resolve the question. Iran has three days to implement the Commission's decision. Iran cannot unduly day the process. Failure to abide by the Commission's decision could result in the reimposition of sanctions. Critics ignore the fact that Iran could agree to inspections immediately, or that the process could be completed within three days.
Sen. Ted Cruz set up a false bogeyman when he said the Supreme Court is "one justice away" from ordering that crosses on tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery be torn down. But when it comes to Arlington's crosses, the First Amendment's guarantee of the "free exercise" of religion supports them and any other religious symbol requested by the deceased, the ACLU has argued In a 2006 lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs (which had denied a request for a Wiccan symbol). Bogus claims about nonexistent threats to crosses in military cemeteries have been circulating among the gullible for more than a decade. Cruz goes too far when he suggests that crosses at military cemeteries are under threat.
Chip Tuthill is a longtime Mancos resident. Website used: www.factcheck.org