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‘Secret’ Exemptions Allowed Iran to Skirt Nuclear Agreement | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, January 15, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Washington-A report issued in Washington on Thursday reveals that the U.S. and its negotiating partners had allowed Iran to skirt certain requirements laid in the Nuclear Agreement reached by the P5+1 last year to restrain the Iranian uranium program.

The report was released by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. Asharq Al-Awsat received a copy of the report.

It says that power states had given Iran some exemptions to allow Tehran to evade some restrictions that were imposed on the country before the agreement, particularly concerning the quantity of low-enriched uranium, which Iran could keep in its nuclear facilities.

The report was prepared by the institute’s president David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector.

“The exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favor Iran,” Albright said.

The Joint Commission tasked to supervise the implementation of the accord had set Jan. 16 as the deadline for Iran to abide by the limits placed by the U.S. and its negotiating partners. However, the report said that some of Iran’s nuclear facilities had not been in compliance with the requirements.

The report said the P5+1 had lately met to decide on offering Iran more exemptions related to the 3.5 percent LEU contained in liquid, solid and sludge wastes stored at Iranian nuclear facilities.

The Nuclear Agreement had restricted Iran to stockpile only 300 kg of 3.5 percent LEU. However, it seemed that Iran was capable to exceed the quantity of enriched uranium and to skirt the limits.

The U.S. and its negotiating partners had allowed a second exemption for an unknown quantity of near 20 percent LEU in “lab contaminant” that was determined to be unrecoverable, the report said.

It added that the total amount of excess LEU Iran possesses is unknown.

Meanwhile, the U.S. administration said the world powers negotiating the deal did not agree on any secret exemptions.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday during a press briefing that the work of the Joint Commission was always confidential.

“The Joint Commission has not and will not loosen any of the commitments and has not provided any exceptions that would allow Iran to retain or process material in excess of its limits,” Kirby said.

He added that the International Atomic Energy Agency had also confirmed that Iran was fulfilling its obligations under the deal.

Observers believed that the loopholes found by the report would be used by Republicans to intensify their campaigns against the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has already pledged to renegotiate the Nuclear Deal with Iran.