Breaking News -- United States
Iran Bans U.S. Inspectors from All Nuclear Sites
by Adam Kredo
No Americans permitted under final nuclear deal.
U.S. and Iranian officials confirmed Thursday that no American nuclear inspectors will be permitted to enter the country’s contested nuclear site under the parameters of a deal reached with world powers this week, according to multiple statements by American and Iranian officials.
Under the tenants of the final nuclear deal reached this week in Vienna, only countries with normal diplomatic relations with Iran will be permitted to participate in inspections teams organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The revelation of this caveat has attracted concern from some analysts who maintain that only American experts can be trusted to verify that Iran is not cheating on the deal and operating clandestine nuclear facilities.
The admission is the latest in a series of apparent concessions made by the United States to Iran under the deal. Other portions of the agreement include a promise by the United States to help Iran combat nuclear sabotage and threats to its program.
“Iran will increase the number of designated IAEA inspectors to the range of 130-150 within 9 months from the date of the implementation of the JCPOA, and will generally allow the designation of inspectors from nations that have diplomatic relations with Iran, consistent with its laws and regulations,” the deal states, according to text released by the Russians and Iranians.
Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, confirmed this in an interview with CNN.
“There are not going to be independent American inspectors separate from the IAEA” on the ground in Iran, Rice said. “The IAEA will be doing the inspections on behalf of the U.S. and the rest of the international community.”
Rice said that the Obama administration trusts those countries whose relations with Iran are normalized to carry out inspections of the Islamic Republic’s sensitive nuclear sites.
“The IAEA, which is a highly respected international organization will field an international team of inspectors, and those inspectors will in all likelihood come from IAEA member states, most of whom have diplomatic relations with Iran,” Rice said. “We of course are a rare exception.”
Elliott Abrams, a former White House National Security Council director under George W. Bush, criticized the administration for consenting to Iranian demands.
“It’s ironic that after Wendy Sherman told us about how Kerry and Zarif had tears in their eyes thinking about all they had accomplished together, we learn that the Islamic Republic won’t allow one single American inspector,” Abrams said, referring to John Kerry and Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister. “No member of the P5+1 [negotiating team] should be barred, and this is another example of how badly the administration negotiated.”
“We should have insisted that the ‘no Americans’ rule was simply unacceptable,” Abrams said. “But there was no end to U.S. concessions.”
One American source who was present in Vienna for the talks said the ban on all U.S. inspectors is the result of Iranian demands in the negotiating room.
“The administration promised the American people and their lawmakers that we would be implementing the most robust inspection regime in the history of the world and that we would know what’s happening on the ground,” the source said. “Now they tell us America can’t have anything to do with the inspection regime because we don’t have diplomatic relations with Iran. I guess we should be grateful they’re not solving this problem by opening up a U.S. embassy in Tehran.”
Obama administration officials also admitted recently that promises for “anytime, anywhere” inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites were a rhetorical flight of fancy.
“I think this is one of those circumstance where we have all been rhetorical from time to time,” lead U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman told reporters this week. “That phrase, ‘anytime, anywhere,’ is something that became popular rhetoric, but I think people understood that if the IAEA felt it had to have access, and had a justification for that access, that it would be guaranteed, and that is what happened.”
U.S. concessions on the structure of the inspections regime have allowed Iran to delay inspections of sensitive sites for at least 24 days.
Some Guantanamo inmates would go to U.S. under new plan: Obama aide
A plan being drafted for closing the Guantanamo military jail will call for the transfer to U.S. prisons of possibly dozens of inmates deemed too dangerous to release, President Barack Obama’s counter terrorism adviser said, setting up a fight with congressional opponents.
Outlining the White House proposal that will soon be sent to Congress, Lisa Monaco, one of Obama’s top national security aides, told the Aspen Security Conference on Saturday that the United States would step up the transfers of 52 detainees cleared for resettlement in other countries.
The plan calls for the rest of the inmates at the U.S. naval base in Cuba to be brought to the United States to "Supermax" or military prisons for trials or continued military detention, Monaco said. Some 116 detainees remain at Guantanamo, many held more than a decade without charge or trial.
Obama’s new push to meet his longstanding pledge to shut the internationally condemned prison is sure to face strong resistance from Republicans who control Congress. Legislation currently bans the transfer of detainees to the U.S. mainland.
"Why hand over this albatross to the president’s successor?" Monaco said at the conference in Colorado. Obama has 18 months left in office.
The plan, which the White House says is nearing completion, will include establishing "security protocols" to increase resettlement of prisoners in countries other than their own.
Washington has ruled out repatriating dozens of Yemenis because of the war in their country. U.S. lawmakers are concerned that some of the foreign terrorism suspects who are freed elsewhere will return to militant activities.
Sixty-four prisoners have been deemed "too dangerous to release," including 10 facing military commissions. Monaco said efforts would be made to reduce that number through “periodic review boards” that have been used to clear others for transfer.
"We are going to whittle down this group to what I refer to as the irreducible minimum, who would have to be brought here to a secure location, held under the laws of war, continuing under military detention," she said. "That’s the only way we’re going to be able to close Guantanamo."
The White House has threatened to veto a defense spending bill if it includes restrictions on transferring inmates.
But Monaco insisted on the need to "work with Congress," especially Sen. John McCain, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has long advocated closing the prison.
Many of McCain’s fellow Republicans want to keep it open, and even some of Obama’s Democrats have joined in blocking transfers to American jails. The prison was opened by George W. Bush, after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to house suspected al Qaeda and Taliban members rounded up overseas.
(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Grant McCool)
Judge orders Obama administration to release illegal immigrants from 'deplorable' facilities
A federal judge in California has ruled that hundreds of illegal immigrant women and children in U.S. holding facilities should be released, another apparent setback for President Obama’s immigration policy, according to The Los Angeles Times.
U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee said Friday that the conditions in which the detainees are being held are “deplorable” and violate parts of an 18-year-old court settlement that put restrictions on the detention of migrant children.
The ruling also raises questions about what the administration will do with the estimated 1,700 parents and children at three detention facilities, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania.
Last year, tens of thousands of women and unaccompanied minors from Central America arrived at the Southwest border, with many believing a rumor that unaccompanied children and single parents with at least one child would be allowed to stay.
More than 68,000 of them were apprehended and detained while officials decided whether they had a right to stay.
Many were being released and told to appear at immigration offices until the administration eventually opened new detention centers.
Gee said in her ruling that children in the two Texas facilities had been held in substandard conditions and gave the administration until Aug. 3 to respond.
“We are disappointed with the court's decision and are reviewing it in consultation with the Department of Justice,” Marsha Catron, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said in a prepared statement given to The Times.
Many of the Central Americans who crossed the Southwest border illegally last summer said they were fleeing poverty and escalating gang violence.
The Texas facilities are run by private companies, while the one in Pennsylvania is run by a county government.
In February, a federal judge blocked Obama's 2012 executive action to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from being deported.
And a federal appeals court in New Orleans refused three months later to allow the program to go forward, denying an administration request to lift the lower court decision.
Gee’s decision is also seen as a victory for the immigrant rights lawyers who brought the case.
The ruling upholds a tentative decision Gee made in April and comes a week after the two sides told her that they failed to reach a new settlement agreement as she had requested.
The 1997 settlement bars immigrant children from being held in unlicensed, secure facilities. Gee found that settlement covered all children in the custody of federal immigration officials, even those being held with a parent.
The Justice Department had argued it was necessary to modify the settlement and use detention to try to deter more immigrants from coming to the border after last year's surge. The department also said it was an important way to keep families together while their immigration cases were being reviewed, but the judge rejected that argument in her decision.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
|(Disclaimer) What to Look For in World Events: Audio & Text Video|