A landmark nuclear agreement has been reached with Iran after clearing final obstacles, a senior diplomat said today. The diplomat said the deal agreed at talks in Vienna includes a compromise between Washington and Tehran which would allow UN inspectors to press for visits to Iranian military sites as part of their monitoring duties. But access at will to any site would not necessarily be granted and, even if so, could be delayed - a condition that critics of the deal are sure to seize on as possibly giving Tehran time to cover any sign of non- compliance with its commitments. Under the deal, Tehran would have the right to challenge the UN request and an arbitration board composed of Iran and the six world powers that negotiated with it would have to decide on the issue. Nevertheless, such an arrangement would be a notable departure from assertions by top Iranian officials that their country would never allow the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency into such sites. Iran has argued that such visits by the IAEA would be a cover for spying on its military secrets.
Iranian lawmakers approved the outlines of a bill that would ban inspections of military sites and require the lifting of all sanctions under any nuclear deal with world powers. The vote highlighted the continued strains between President Hassan Rouhani’s political allies and his hardline opponents. Rouhani’s critics have accused nuclear negotiators of showing too much leniency in talks with six world powers.