The United States says it has confidence in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to probe Iran's alleged past efforts to build a atomic bomb after a leaked IAEA memo shows the agency will let Iran carry out its own inspections at a suspected nuclear site.
The Associated Press said Wednesday it has seen what it calls a "secret agreement" between Iran and the IAEA and endorsed by the six world powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.S.
AP says, under the agreement, Iran itself will send its own inspectors and equipment to the Parchin nuclear site, where Iran has been suspected of trying to develop a nuclear weapon.
Iran has consistently denied the charge and has refused to allow international inspectors into the site. AP says the deal gives Iran the right to withhold photos and video of parts of Parchin that the Iranians say have military significance.
This deal is apparently exclusive to Iran and no other IAEA member state has such an arrangement.
US comfortable with arrangement
In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday that he could not comment on what he says is a "purported draft document" by the IAEA.
But he said the U.S. is comfortable with any arrangements the IAEA has with Iran.
"When it comes to monitoring Iran's behavior going forward, the IAEA has separately developed the most robust inspection regime ever peacefully negotiated to ensure Iran's current program remains exclusively peaceful," he said.
Kirby said it is not up to the six world powers to endorse or reject any agreement between the IAEA and Iran. He said as part of the nuclear deal with Tehran, the IAEA must be satisfied that Iran is fully cooperating with any investigation that it may have at one time tried to develop a nuclear weapon. If the agency is not happy, sanctions against Iran would not be lifted.
Iran has always denied ever wanting to build a nuclear bomb. It says evidence of a weapons program at Parchin was based on false intelligence by the U.S. and Israel.
The U.S. Congress will vote next month whether to back or reject the nuclear deal with Iran. President Barack Obama says he would veto a rejection. House Minority Leader, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, told the AP Wednesday that the House has enough votes to sustain a veto.
Opponents to the deal say it does not totally dismantle Iran's nuclear infrastructure, leaving the door open to a possible weapon. Supporters say it is the best deal possible and one that includes strict inspections of Iran's nuclear program.