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Zainab Calcuttawala

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Nuclear Deal Commission Granted Iran Exemptions To Allow Lifting Of Sanctions

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“Secret” exceptions to the terms of the Iranian nuclear deal have allowed Iran to evade some of the restrictions negotiated by the United States and its partners last year, a new think tank report said on Thursday.

The terms allowed Iran to meet the deadline for the nation to start getting relief from international sanctions that had been imposed on Iran, Reuters reported.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security wrote the report, which cited several anonymous officials from the six governments involved in the negotiations - the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Reuters spoke with David Albright, the institute’s founder, who declined to reveal the identities of the officials referenced during the report’s writing.

"The exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favor Iran," Albright told Reuters.

The institute clarified on the bottom of the report that its stance on the deal – officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - has been “neutral,” though many would disagree, claiming that the group has worked with neoconservative think tanks, such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, in the past.

Two of the loopholes that the joint commission overseeing the deal agreed upon allowed Iran to hold more than permitted level of low-enriched uranium in the country’s nuclear facilities. Had the exception not been made, a handful of Iran’s facilities would not have been in compliance of the deal by January 16th.

“Recently the Joint Commission created a Technical Working Group to consider further exemptions to Iran’s stock of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium,” Albright added in the report. “This cap is set at 300 kg of LEU hexafluoride but Iran apparently has or could exceed the cap if no further exemptions are granted by the Joint Commission.”

The White House and the U.S. negotiating team have previously said no secret exemptions had been made during negotiations. The report said that the White House had informed Congress about the exemptions on Implementation Day, though the information was not shared with the public.

Aside from these exemptions, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a matter of public record.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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