Iran rules out inspections of military sites
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Iran rules out inspections of military sites

'We will not roll out the red carpet for the enemy,' says Revolutionary Guards chief

A S-200 surface-to-air missile system is driven past Iranian military commanders during the Army Day parade in Tehran on April 18, 2015. (Photo credit: Behrouz Mehri/AFP)
A S-200 surface-to-air missile system is driven past Iranian military commanders during the Army Day parade in Tehran on April 18, 2015. (Photo credit: Behrouz Mehri/AFP)

A senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Sunday that inspectors would be barred from military sites under any nuclear agreement with world powers.

Gen. Hossein Salami, the Guard’s deputy leader, said on state TV that allowing the foreign inspection of military sites is tantamount to “selling out.”

“We will respond with hot lead (bullets) to those who speak of it,” Salami said. “Iran will not become a paradise for spies. We will not roll out the red carpet for the enemy.”

Iran and six world powers — the US, the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia — have reached a framework agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions, and hope to strike a final deal by June 30.

A fact sheet on the framework accord issued by the State Department said Iran would be required to grant the UN nuclear agency access to any “suspicious sites.” Iran has questioned that and other language in the fact sheet, notably that sanctions would only be lifted after the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Tehran’s compliance. Iran’s leaders have said the sanctions should be lifted on the first day of the implementation of the accord.

The fact sheet said Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would grant the IAEA expanded access to both declared and undeclared nuclear facilities.

But Salami said allowing foreign inspectors to visit a military base would amount to “occupation,” and expose “military and defense secrets.”

“It means humiliating a nation,” Salami said on state TV. “They will not even be permitted to inspect the most normal military site in their dreams.”

Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the Parchin military site in 2005 as a confidence-building measure, but denied further visits, fearing espionage.

IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami in a February 9, 2015 interview (screen capture: YouTube)
IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami in a February 9, 2015 interview (screen capture: YouTube)

On Friday, US President Barack Obama left the door open to “creative negotiations” in response to Iran’s demand that sanctions be immediately lifted as part of a nuclear deal, even though the US has said the framework agreement reached in Lausanne earlier this month calls for the penalties to be removed over time.

Asked whether he would definitively rule out lifting sanctions at once as part of a final deal aimed at keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, Obama said he did not want to get ahead of negotiators in how to work through the potential sticking point. He said his main concern is making sure that if Iran violates an agreement, sanctions can quickly be reinstated — the so-called “snap back” provision.

“How sanctions are lessened, how we snap back sanctions if there’s a violation, there are a lot of different mechanisms and ways to do that,” Obama said. He said part of the job for Secretary of State John Kerry and the representatives of five other nations working to reach a final deal with Iran by June 30 “is to sometimes find formulas that get to our main concerns while allowing the other side to make a presentation to their body politic that is more acceptable.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani insisted last week that they would not sign a deal unless all sanctions are lifted right after an agreement is signed. Obama initially portrayed their comments as a reflection of internal political pressure, while pointing out that the framework agreement provides for sanctions to be phased out only once international monitors verify that Tehran is abiding by the limitations.

Western nations have long suspected Iran of secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian program. Tehran denies such allegations, and insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

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