A preliminary agreement that would curtail Iran’s nuclear program raised hope around the world that the nation could be prevented from developing nuclear weapons. But just 24 hours after the deal was struck, there appeared to be sharp disagreement over the details in the package.
U.S. officials involved in the talks say the Iranians have been generally cooperative so far on inspections and monitoring.
The Iranians have argued that the six powers should use transparency, not rolling back the program, to make sure they don’t get the bomb.
Siegfried Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, said the verification procedures outlined in the U.S. fact sheet are rigorous and it is “quite surprising that Iran agreed to them, (if they have).
“Suspicions will linger for years because of the mistrust,” he said in an email.
Philip Coyle, a former deputy director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, chief of nuclear weapons testing and a recent advisor to the Obama administration, recalled that Soviet Union officials repeatedly accused the U.S. of attempting to spy on them during verification inspections, calling it a form of “legalized espionage.”
The strategic weapons treaties between Russia and the U.S. involved hundreds of inspections and massive investment in technology to verify that the agreements were being upheld. Russian military officials and their U.S. counterparts made detailed visits to each others’ weapons plants and military installations.
“Verification is always difficult in any agreement or treaty and if there is not a lot of trust to start with, it makes it all the harder,” Coyle said.