US senators seeking to turn up pressure on Iran

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has threatened to expand Iran’s ballistic missile program in response to President Trump’s decision not to certify the controversial Iran deal, but U.S. senators are forging on in their efforts to implement more rigorous requirements for international inspections of the hostile country’s hidden nuclear program.

Despite warnings from Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of a “reciprocal measure” if sanctions were reimposed on his country, senators are seeking access to off-limits military sites and increased transparency regarding the Islamic Republic’s enrichment of uranium, according to U.S. officials and congressional leaders spearheading the new inspection effort.

Ambassador Nikki Haley led a delegation of 13 senators in petitioning the U.S. Mission to the United Nations to put a series of stricter inspection methods in place in order to give Western countries a closer look into Iran’s nuclear program. It’s suspected that the country uses several military sites to continue nuclear development which was prohibited under the original agreement, according to U.S. officials who spoke to The Washington Free Beacon.

In their letter, which was spearheaded by Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.), a series of “shortcomings in the inspection and verification regime” are pointed out. Inspections are led by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, which has itself admitted in recent months that it does not have a full picture of Iran’s current nuclear program.

A major “deterioration in the amount and quality of the information provided by IAEA inspections [has] prevented the inspection and verification regime of the JCPOA from being as thorough and transparent as possible,” the senators write, referring to the nuclear deal by its official acronym.

A spokesperson for Perdue’s office told the Free Beacon, “It’s very clear President Obama’s dangerous Iran Nuclear Deal doesn’t have the teeth he claimed it would. President Trump was right to decertify this deal, and now we have to turn up the pressure on the IAEA to get more detailed reporting and ensure all potential nuclear sites—including military installations—are inspected thoroughly.”

Inspection regimes “should include the number of visits to mines and ore concentration plants,” according to the senators, who say that Iran should be forced to be truthful about the amount of yellow cake it produces.

Iran must also provide more information about the number of nuclear centrifuges it is operating at its Natanz plant, as well as other areas, according to the senators, who are pushing for greater inspection of Iran’s storage of advanced nuclear centrifuges.

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