Aug 13 2015
Graham Threatens To Withhold Funding Unless Iran Nuclear ‘Side Agreements’ Are Released
Contact: Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417 or Clint Riddle (202) 224-5972
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has put the Obama Administration on notice that he will push to cut off United States contributions to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unless the ‘side agreements’ made with Iran over its nuclear program are released to the Congress.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Graham stressed the importance these side agreements have on the pending legislative action in Congress.
“As an indication of how serious I view the provision of copies of these side agreements to our national security, I intend to condition and/or withhold voluntary contributions to the IAEA in fiscal year 2016 should they not be provided prior to the congressional debate next month,” wrote Graham.
Graham is the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, which oversees contributions to the IAEA.
Graham was also one of the primary authors of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which required President Obama to submit any nuclear deal with Iran to the Congress for review.
A copy of the letter can be found here and text of the letter is below.
As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs with oversite of our contributions to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), I respectfully request the Administration to provide in a timely manner to the Congress any and all copies of side agreements between Iran and the IAEA associated with the Iran nuclear deal. Given anticipated legislative action on this controversial deal in the Senate next month, firsthand information on IAEA side agreements are vital to both the debate and decision making process for all Members – irrespective of their views of Iran or the merits of the deal.
There is precedent for the IAEA to share side agreements between the Agency and the Iranian government. In 2007, the IAEA made the document, “Understandings of Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues” public. Additionally, the 1974 text of the Agreement between Iran and the Agency for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is available for all to review on the IAEA website.
As an indication of how serious I view the provision of copies of these side agreements to our national security, I intend to condition and/or withhold voluntary contributions to the IAEA in fiscal year 2016 should they not be provided prior to the congressional debate next month.
You may recall that S. 1725 (the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2016) provides $88 million for voluntary contributions to the IAEA in title V under the heading “Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs”, a portion which supports IAEA Iran activities. I anticipate that at some point these funds will be under discussion as part of a continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations bill, and I will work with my colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives to take appropriate action regarding IAEA voluntary contributions based on the provisions of these agreements.
I encourage you to make this request a priority within the Administration and in dealings with the IAEA, and to raise the necessity of providing all such side agreements to the Congress in any upcoming IAEA Board of Governors meetings.
I appreciate your considering my views, and I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.