A U.S. Department of State official testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) admitted that the U.S. does not know where tons of enriched uranium shipped out of Iran is now located.
Ambassador Stephen Mull’s testimony shocked critics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal) Thursday, drawing significant amounts of concern and criticism for what is believed to be a major discrepancy. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey called the admission “outrageous and unbelievable.”
“The material that Iran shipped out, the 25,000 pounds of nuclear material, Russia took that under its control,” said Mull, “one of the features of our relationship is pretty close cooperation on protection of nuclear material.”
“Do we have any onsite accountability? Can we go and verify ourselves?” asked Smith.
“We cannot,” responded Mull.
“Where is the repository for it? asked Smith. “Where has it been put?”
Mull responded by saying the material has been shipped out of Iran, but that the exact whereabouts is thus far unknown. Smith noted that Russia has “double-dealed” before and expressed concern as to whether the country can be trusted to keep the nuclear material away from Iran, especially given the close relationship the two countries share.
“We do not have concerns about Russian custody of this material,” said Mull, “what’s important in this deal is will it go back to Iran, and I can guarantee there are sufficient controls in place.”
“Can the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] go to that ship and verify that its there? And follow it as it goes to its final resting place,” asked Smith.
“IAEA has different monitoring arrangements with … each country in the world,” said Mull.
“Its not somewhere in Russia that we can say ‘there it is,’ we don’t even know where it is,” noted Smith. “That is a flaw in my opinion.”
Mull serves as the state department lead coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation. One of the key aspects of the nuclear deal is that the 25,000 pounds of nuclear material Mull referred to would be safely shipped out of Iran to Russia. The material was supposedly loaded on to a Russian cargo vessel, however, the whereabouts of that material is now unknown to the U.S. and ostensibly in the hands of Russia, an Iranian ally, according to the video.
You can watch the entire exchange between Mull and Smith below.
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