Secretary Kerry of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz stated that they had not read the text of the side deals with Iran and that Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman “may have” before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
Kerry was asked by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), “have you read either of these two side deals between the IAEA and Iran?” Kerry answered, “No, I haven’t read it,” and that he hadn’t read any read any prior drafts of the side deals. He added, “I’ve been briefed through our team that met with the IAEA.”
When asked if anyone on his team had read the agreements, Kerry stated, “I believe one person may have read it at the facility, but doesn’t have it, they don’t possess it.” Cotton then asked Kerry who had read the text of the side deals, to which he told him “it’s possible, I don’t know for sure, but it’s possible Wendy Sherman may have. But I don’t know that for sure.”
Cotton then questioned Moniz on whether he had read the text of the agreements, Moniz, like Kerry, said that he hadn’t read them or any prior version. Moniz was also “unsure” if anyone at the Department of Energy had read the side agreements as well.
Cotton then turned back to Kerry, and inquired whether besides Sherman, “has, to your knowledge, anyone else in the United States government reviewed the text of these agreements?” Kerry responded, “Not that I’m aware of. I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
Kerry was then asked whether Sherman reading the deals “undercut the claims of confidentiality between the IAEA and Iran.” He stated, “I don’t know whether she read a summary, or a draft, or — I have no idea. I said I think and I’m not sure. But I know she’s briefing the Senate very shortly, Senator. So, she’ll be briefing in classified –.”
The questioning then turned to whether Iran would be allowed to submit its own samples from its site at Parchin for submission to the IAEA, Kerry stated he couldn’t confirm or deny whether this was the case “in this session,” “But what I can confirm is that Secretary Moniz, in his discussions, both with the IAEA, and with the team, made recommendations to them, and I believe is satisfied that this can — whatever the process is, that the process will be able to provide the answers we need.”
Cotton then asked, “Why can’t we confirm or deny the content of these agreements in public? Why is this classified, it’s not a sensitive US government document.” Kerry responded, “Because we respect the process of the IAEA, and we don’t have their authorization to reveal what is a confidential agreement between them and another country.”
Cotton continued, “So, the ayatollahs will know what they agreed to, but not the American people?” Kerry answered, “No, not exactly, because we will share with you, in the classified briefing, what we understand the contents to be. But they negotiated the agreement with the IAEA. The IAEA is an independent entity under the United Nations, Senator, as I know you know. And under — I don’t know even at this point what the law says about the United States requiring something which another entity’s laws prohibit. So, we have to see whether that’s a conflict of law or not.”
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