- - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Senate staff member told me yesterday there is a classified version of the nuclear framework with Iran that members of the Senate are having difficulty assessing because it has been classified secret and is locked up in the Senate security office. I was told that few Senate staffers are being allowed to read this classified version of the framework.

This revelation raises several serious questions about President Obama’s desperate effort to get a nuclear deal with Iran.

First, this classified version of the framework agreement must be different from the fact sheet on the framework released by the State Department on April 2. We already know, based on a revelation by the French, that the Obama administration withheld from the fact sheet a controversial provision of the framework on advanced centrifuges. Were other controversial provisions withheld? Did Obama officials selectively release parts of the framework to block congressional action against a nuclear deal?

Second, since Iranian officials have denounced the fact sheet as a lie, does the classified version show what was actually agreed to? Does it show major differences in areas where Obama officials are claiming the United States and Iran are in agreement?

Third, the U.S. government classifies information to prevent disclosure to our adversaries. Who is the adversary here? Not Iran, since the classified framework document reflects discussions and agreements with Iranian diplomats. It is pretty clear that the framework documents have been classified to keep them from the American people, not hostile foreign governments, and to make it as difficult as possible for members of Congress and their staffs to access them.

With Iran rejecting U.S. claims that a final nuclear deal will have strong provisions on verification and lifting sanctions, and a new report that President Obama has offered Iran a $50 billion “signing bonus” for agreeing to a nuclear deal, opposition to the president’s dangerous nuclear diplomacy with Iran is growing on Capitol Hill. Every member of Congress must review the classified documents on the framework with their staffs to determine the full extent of the Obama administration’s concessions to Iran in the nuclear talks and how to respond if important U.S. concessions have been kept from the American people.

Fred Fleitz is a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy.

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