WASHINGTON - The head of the U.N’s International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday that he cannot give Congress a copy of the organization’s nuclear inspection document with Iran despite harsh criticism from Republican senators.
Republicans have criticized the Obama administration, saying Congress has not been given access to the document, which they say is needed to decide whether to vote to approve the deal in September. President Barack Obama is heavily pressing Congress to approve of the deal, which aims to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in economic sanctions relief.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, who met with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he has a legal obligation to keep the document confidential.
“Imagine if a country provides me with confidential information … and I do not honor the commitment, no country will share information with us,” Amano told reporters after the meeting.
“That is the case with the United States, too,” he said. “We have a confidential agreement with the United States, and I cannot share it.”
Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the committee, told reporters that he remains “very, skeptical” of the agreement the U.S. and its partner nations reached with Iran.
Earlier at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Iran, Corker asked a lead U.S. negotiator of the deal, “Why now will you not give us the documents that exist that are so important to all of us relative to the integrity of this? Why not?”
Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said the U.S. does not have the paperwork, but she offered to tell senators in a classified briefing later in the day what she knows about the separate document between Iran and nuclear inspectors that is part of the nuclear accord negotiated with Tehran.
“I did see the provisional documents,” she said. “I didn’t see the final documents.”