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Negotiators Seen Downplaying Iran's Atomic Past

Workers seen in 2005 at Iran's Isfahan uranium-conversion facility. The United States reportedly appears to be avoiding any demand for a full rundown of the country's historical atomic efforts prior to the potential completion of a comprehensive nuclear deal next month. Workers seen in 2005 at Iran's Isfahan uranium-conversion facility. The United States reportedly appears to be avoiding any demand for a full rundown of the country's historical atomic efforts prior to the potential completion of a comprehensive nuclear deal next month. (Getty Images)

Iran apparently faces little U.S. pressure to fully recount its nuclear past amid a global push to rein in its current efforts, the New York Times reports.

Obama insiders said Iran would never offer a look at many of its sensitive facilities in a possible package deal to assure other countries that it is not seeking a nuclear-arms capacity, the newspaper reported on Tuesday. Negotiators from Washington and five other capitals want to restrict the nation's bomb-usable nuclear activities under terms they hope to finalize with Tehran by July 20, when an interim accord with the Persian Gulf power is schedule to expire.

Still, no potential agreement would reveal Iran's level of expertise on matters that could help it to assemble a nuclear bomb if it decided to do so, according to the Times. A lack of full transparency would leave U.S. intelligence officials with the task of ensuring that Iran does not secretly pursue nuclear arms, despite their mixed historical success in conducting such oversight.

A top U.N. nuclear watchdog official added that it is "not possible to find out everything" about Iran's past nuclear activities, including possible elements geared toward weapons development.

"Some documents have disappeared," International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Yukiya Amano told the newspaper last week. "Some people have already died. In some cases, Iran does not give us access."

He added that his organization has "not yet made a specific request" to interview Mohsen Fahkrizadeh, the possible leader of nuclear-arms efforts in Iran. 

In Washington, lawmakers on Tuesday aired worries about "the enormous challenge of monitoring and verifying any potential final agreement with Iran," as House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) put it.

In a classified meeting, panel members "noted that the onus is on Iran to prove that it has not engaged in a covert weapons program," Royce said in prepared comments.

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