Saturday, March 1, 2014

U.S. vows to verify Iran accord, but doesn't have the means to do so


U.S. vows to verify Iran accord, but doesn't have the means to do so

WASHINGTON — The United States plans to verify the nuclear accord with Iran despite reports that it lacks the wherewithal to do so.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the P5+1 nuclear talks in Geneva.
AFP/Getty Images/Fabrice Coffrini

The administration of President Barack Obama has assured Congress that the U.S. intelligence community would introduce measures and assets to monitor Iran's commitment to the P5+1 nuclear agreement, signed in November 2013.

But in January, a Department of Defense consulting panel determined that the U.S. intelligence community was not equipped to monitor rogue nuclear programs, including those of Iran and North Korea.

The panel said the intelligence community lacked both the assets and analysts.

A Pentagon official raised the prospect that Teheran could use nuclear talks as a cover to develop a weapon.

But, U.S. Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Elissa Slotkin said, "Any comprehensive agreement that we ever negotiate will emphasize verifiable means."

A defense official said the U.S. effort would ensure that it could detect any Iranian activity to assemble nuclear weapons.

In a hearing to the House Armed Services Committee on Feb. 11, Ms. Slotkin did not cite planned U.S. measures and assets to verify Iran's nuclear accord.

"We are now focused on testing the prospects for a comprehensive nuclear deal based on verifiable actions that convince us and the international community that Iran is not trying to obtain a nuclear bomb," Ms. Slotkin said.

"We remain confident that we could tell if Iran was making a dash toward a weapon," Ms. Slotkin said. "And if that decision was made, it would take at least a year."


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