The White House has put out the word that anytime/anywhere actually means 24 days/where necessary. That is, when inspectors want to peruse a place where the Iranians are suspected of cheating on the nuclear deal, they “will provide Iran the reasons for access in writing” and the whole process spelled out to get them through the door could take 24 days.
No problem, administration officials tell us. You can’t possibly clean up that nuclear slop so fast. Three weeks, three days and it will still be detectable.
Well, some are debating whether that’s true. But now evidence is emerging that access could take far longer than 24 days anyway.
From an article in today’s Wall Street Journal titled, “The Iranian Inspections Mirage:”
What the deal specifies—Annex One, Section Q—is that International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors will first have to ask Iran’s permission to visit a suspicious location: “The IAEA will provide Iran the reasons for access in writing and will make available relevant information.” After that, Iran has the chance to propose “alternative means” to address IAEA suspicions. All of that will take some unspecified period of time.
Only then, presumably, does the clock start ticking on the 14 days specified in the agreement for the IAEA and Iran to discuss the IAEA request. If the two sides can’t agree after two weeks, the matter goes to an eight-member “Joint Commission,” which includes Iran, Russia and China, and which would vote on “the necessary means to resolve the IAEA’s concerns.” That process is supposed to take no more than a week, after which Iran has three days to implement any decision.
Mr. Obama claims this is more than adequate, since it gives Iran no more than 24 days to prevaricate before the IAEA gets to inspect, and because we’ll be watching from satellites to make sure Iran isn’t loading suspicious crates onto trucks. But depending on how Iran interprets such ambiguous clauses as “relevant information” and “alternative means,” this process could stretch to a lot longer than 24 days. Even 24 days isn’t exactly a snap inspection, since a lot of nuclear work—like a bomb itself—doesn’t require vast spaces.
That is, Iran can draw it out, and it will. And what are we going to do, start a war if they delay things an extra few weeks?
Not that the administration would mislead us on this. But remember, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.