The State Department said Monday that the Obama administration has no plans to “micromanage” the International Atomic Energy Agency as it conducts inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, even as reports surfaced that the IAEA had to inspect environmental samples out of Parchin that Iran selected.
When those reports came out Monday, State was pressed on whether the Obama administration would seek any changes to the confidential inspection arrangements that the IAEA reached with Iran. But spokesman John Kirby indicated there were no such plans.
“That is between the IAEA and Iran to work out,” he said. “What matters to us … we’re not going to micromanage the inspection activities of the IAEA. It’s an independent, international agency that can speak for itself about what it will or will not do.”
And while Republicans used the reports out of Parchin to argue the Iran deal is too weak, Kirby said State is fine with the agreement.
“Having been briefed on the details of that confidential arrangement, the secretary remains comfortable that it will allow for the IAEA to get the proper access it needs and the ability through various techniques of effective monitoring,” he said.
Kirby refused to confirm reports that no IAEA inspectors were able to pick the samples from the Parchin site to be selected.
“I’m not going to get into the details of the process itself,” he said. “That resides inside this confidential arrangement between Iran and the IAEA, so I’m not gonna confirm or deny whether inspectors were present here or there.”
Some downplayed the access to Parchin enjoyed by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano as access to just a small part of the huge facility. But Kirby said it’s “not insignificant” that the IAEA had access there.
But when pressed by reporters that Amano only had access to a few empty rooms, Kirby said “I’m not an expert on the site itself.”
In August, Kirby said State wouldn’t be pushing the IAEA to force the group to reveal details about the confidential arrangement.
But Kirby did say in August that the U.S. would seek more funding for the group, so it can implement the agreement.