Rhodes: We Never Sought Anytime, Anywhere Inspections in Iran Deal

July 15, 2015

Deputy White House national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Tuesday that the United States never sought so-called "anytime, anywhere" inspections in the Iran nuclear deal when CNN challenged him on the United States falling short of that standard in the agreement.

OutFront host Erin Burnett asked how the United States could know whether Iran was cheating if it had any advance notice at all of an inspection.

"First of all, it is 24/7, continuous monitoring of their nuclear facilities, so we can see what they're doing in the facilities where they enrich uranium, where they operate centrifuges, where they have a reactor," Rhodes said. "We never sought in this negotiation the capacity for so-called anytime, anywhere where you could basically go anywhere in the country, look at whatever you wanted to do, even if it had nothing to do with the nuclear program. What we did seek is beyond this comprehensive verification of the nuclear sites, if we have a suspicion about a site, we have the ability to go to the IAEA, the organization that conducts inspections, and say we need to inspect that site."

This is a puzzling statement, especially in light of an interview Rhodes gave with the same network April 6. Rhodes told The Lead's Jake Tapper that the framework struck at that time indeed had that stipulation.

"So the Israelis have put out this list of things that they think should be in the final deal with Iran, including allowing inspectors to go anywhere, any time," Tapper said. "That seems perfectly reasonable, no?"

"Well, Jake, first of all, under this deal you will have anywhere, anytime 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has," Rhodes said.

The deal struck this week does not meet that level of verification. Iran will have more than enough time to stall or stave off inspections of covert nuclear sites under the arrangement, which, coupled with its massive sanctions relief, is why analysts called Tehran the big winner in negotiations.

Tuesday, Burnett said if the United States does not have "anytime, anywhere" inspections capabilities, what does it really have?

"This has the most robust inspections and verification regime that we've ever had in this type of agreement that we've negotiated, this type of arms control agreement," Rhodes said.