Of course they do, but for the moment it wouldn’t matter anyway. The West so far won’t release the text of the “informal agreement” signed with Iran this week to supposedly settle its nuclear adventurism, which gives a pretty good whiff of retreat. The US says it’s the EU balking at releasing the main text:
The text of an agreement reached Sunday to implement the interim nuclear deal with Iran is not available to the public because the European Union is not releasing it, the White House says.
“The EU is not making the document public,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said on Sunday.
Asked why the document was not being released, EU foreign policy spokesman Michael Mann said that he will “have to ask about that.” Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, was closely involved in the talks in Geneva that brought around the interim nuclear deal.
World powers reached an agreement this weekend to implement the interim deal reached with Iran in November to curtail its nuclear program in return for some sanctions relief; the terms of the deal are now scheduled to begin on Jan. 20. According to Reuters, Iran will receive the first $550 million in now-unblocked funds on Feb. 1.
So Iran gets $550 million and a side agreement? At least that’s what they claim, although they’re not releasing the text of the agreement or side agreement yet. The LA Times’ Paul Richter explains (via Power Line):
When officials from Iran and the world powers announced that they had completed the implementing agreement, they didn’t release the text of the deal, nor did they acknowledge the existence of an informal addendum.
In the interview, Araqchi referred to the side agreement using the English word “nonpaper,” a diplomatic term used for an informal side agreement that doesn’t have to be disclosed publicly.
The nonpaper deals with such important details as the operation of a joint commission to oversee how the deal is implemented and Iran’s right to continue nuclear research and development during the next several months, he said.
Araqchi described the joint commission as an influential body that will have authority to decide disputes. U.S. officials have described it as a discussion forum rather than a venue for arbitrating major disputes.
Richter provided a later update with a denial of any such secret protocol from the State Department. What Iran described, State claims, was a technical plan for implementation of the informal agreement … which is still secret, but might be shown to US lawmakers. Presumably this will include the “technical plan for implementation” that Iran considers a side agreement. On the other hand …
Ray Takeyh, an Iran specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations, said Iran and the other six countries may have written the nonpaper to record understandings that they didn’t want to release publicly. The governments may plan to release “just a short text, with broad principles and broad strokes,” Takeyh said.
The US Senate has already balked at this new push to let Iran off the hook for its clandestine efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Handing the upper chamber a few vague talking points and urging them to “trust us” is probably not a viable strategy for the White House, but it may be better than showing them the full text of the agreement. The Senate wouldn’t have to take action on an informal agreement until it develops into a formal treaty, but they can vote to impose sanctions on Iran if the White House plays coy.
Why do I get the feeling that the new agreement amounts to something as effective as this?
Update: Via the Worldwide Standard’s Daniel Halper, this … is interesting:
Gee, that’s so triumphalist that it makes me wonder whether Iran’s also worried about the agreement coming fully to light. Their hard-line extremists might find something very unpleasant in it, and this sounds a lot like an attempt to pre-spin things.