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Iran’s Supreme Leader Says No Deal If Inspectors Want Access To Military Sites

Seemingly out of nowhere, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated Thursday that Iran won’t sign off on any final nuclear agreement unless military sites are declared off limits to foreign inspectors.

Also added is the requirement that the United States will have to drop all economic sanctions against the beleaguered country on the day the agreement is signed, The New York Times reports. This marks the first time Khamenei has made any substantive public comments on the proposed framework which was introduced last week in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Khamanei was cautious about the prospects of negotiations but emphasized that Iran would not be taken in by “devilish” intentions stemming from the United States.

“I neither support nor oppose the deal. Everything is in the details, it may be that the deceptive other side wants to restrict us in the details,” Khamenei said, according to Reuters.

The State Department responded on Thursday, saying that it intends to gradually pull back sanctions “in a phased manner upon verification that Iran has met specific commitments.” Exactly what those requirements are will set the stage for the next phase of the discussion.

Jeff Rathke, the spokesman for the State Department, did not specifically address Khamanei’s remarks, but what’s unclear is how sanctions can be eased if inspection of military facilities is forbidden. So far, Secretary of State John Kerry has maintained that the inspection requirements will be quite involved, but it’s not yet known whether he intends for those requirements to extend to military facilities.

One of the military sites, Parchin, has not been mentioned in the international framework at all in distinct contrast to sites like Fordow and Natanz, which are widely discussed in the arrangement. It is widely suspected that Parchin would host Iran’s weaponization efforts, making it a key site for inspection.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, echoed the remarks of the supreme leader.

“We will not sign any agreement unless all economic sanctions are totally lifted on the first day of the implementation of the deal,” Rouhani said.

The final deadline is June 30, which gives some amount of time for Secretary of State John Kerry and his team to work out the thorny details of what one of the most invasive inspection regimes in history will look like.

Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

 

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