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The Murky Secrecy Surrounding the Iran Nuke Deal

Walter Russell Mead

More murky details keep surfacing in connection to the Obama Administration’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran. Reuters:

The United States and its negotiating partners agreed "in secret" to allow Iran to evade some restrictions in last year's landmark nuclear agreement in order to meet the deadline for it to start getting relief from economic sanctions, according to a think tank report published on Thursday.

The report, which was 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. The group's president David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and co-author of the report, declined to identify the officials, and Reuters could not independently verify the report's assertions.

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

The text of the report can be found here.

There is absolutely no policy justification for these concessions being secret. The Iranians know what they are; so do all the governments involved in the negotiations. The only people these agreements are being hidden from is the public. And it seems unlikely that there is a need to hide the details from the Iranian public—the news that their negotiators got a better deal would presumably be good for the Iranian government’s political popularity.

So on the face of it, the secrecy clause looks like evidence of bad conscience and political squeamishness on the part of the U.S. government—the administration didn’t want the American people to know how many concessions it made to get the deal.

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