iran nuke exemptions sciutto lead dnt _00001113.jpg
iran nuke exemptions sciutto lead dnt _00001113.jpg
Now playing
02:26
Report: Iran granted exemptions to nuclear deal
Salma Abdelaziz/CNN
Now playing
02:35
Iran FM: US has 'addiction to sanctions'
Iran sanctions impact ordinary families.
CNN
Iran sanctions impact ordinary families.
Now playing
02:08
How US sanctions hit ordinary people in Iran
CNN Illustration/Getty Images
Now playing
01:59
Trump warns about doing business with Iran
ATTA KENARE/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:02
Rouhani: US must pull 'knife' out before talks
An Iranian woman walks past a mural depicting the Statue of Liberty with a dead face, painted on the wall of the former US embassy in the capital Tehran on August 7, 2018 - US President Donald Trump warned countries against doing business with Iran today as he hailed the "most biting sanctions ever imposed", triggering a mix of anger, fear and defiance in Tehran. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)
ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images
An Iranian woman walks past a mural depicting the Statue of Liberty with a dead face, painted on the wall of the former US embassy in the capital Tehran on August 7, 2018 - US President Donald Trump warned countries against doing business with Iran today as he hailed the "most biting sanctions ever imposed", triggering a mix of anger, fear and defiance in Tehran. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:46
Iranians say they don't hate Americans
Trump presser 07302018
CNN
Trump presser 07302018
Now playing
01:44
Trump: I'll meet with Iran whenever they want
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Now playing
02:27
Trump tweets explosive threat to Iran
CNN
Now playing
00:59
Mattis: President thinks Iran on wrong track
Secretary Pompeo delivers remarks on "Supporting Iranian Voices", at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs.
CNN
Secretary Pompeo delivers remarks on "Supporting Iranian Voices", at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs.
Now playing
00:52
Pompeo calls Iran leaders 'polished front men'
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 09:  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses a rally against the Iran nuclear deal on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol September 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Thousands of people gathered for the rally, organized by the Tea Party Patriots, which featured conservative pundits and politicians.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 09: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses a rally against the Iran nuclear deal on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol September 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Thousands of people gathered for the rally, organized by the Tea Party Patriots, which featured conservative pundits and politicians. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:36
Donald Trump and Iran: the one thing to know
title: Iran Uprising against the high living expenses people chanting Death to Rouhani  duration: 00:06:04  sub-clip duration: 1:05  site: Youtube  author: null  published: Thu Dec 28 2017 11:42:20 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time)  intervention: no  description:
Youtube
title: Iran Uprising against the high living expenses people chanting Death to Rouhani duration: 00:06:04 sub-clip duration: 1:05 site: Youtube author: null published: Thu Dec 28 2017 11:42:20 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time) intervention: no description:
Now playing
00:59
Trump applauds Iran's anti-government protest
Young international tourists flock to Iran
CNN
Young international tourists flock to Iran
Now playing
01:46
Young tourists flock to Iran
CNN
Now playing
00:53
Trump: Iran must never possess nuclear weapon
Iran's President Hasan Rouhani delivers a speech after his swearing-in ceremony for the second term in office, at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. Rouhani, 68, a moderate cleric who secured re-election on May 19, promised that his country will pursue a "path of coexistence and interaction with the world."
Ebrahim Noroozi/AP
Iran's President Hasan Rouhani delivers a speech after his swearing-in ceremony for the second term in office, at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. Rouhani, 68, a moderate cleric who secured re-election on May 19, promised that his country will pursue a "path of coexistence and interaction with the world."
Now playing
01:01
Iranian president responds to US sanctions
CNN
Now playing
01:28
What's life like inside Iran?

Story highlights

New report says US and international community granted Iran "secret" exemptions to nuclear deal

State Department officials insist Iran was in full compliance with nuclear agreement

(CNN) —  

The US and other members of the international community granted Iran exemptions to its requirements under the agreement that sought to curb its nuclear program, according to a new report by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security.

The alleged granting of “secret” exemptions to Iran by the Joint Commission, the deal’s implementing body, is likely to thrust the controversial accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), back into the political spotlight.

The report says “most of the conditions” laid out in the agreement “were met by Iran” but it also claims Iran would have not been in compliance by January 16, 2016, the deal’s so-called Implementation Day, without the exemptions to the requirement that Iran limit its stockpile of low enriched uranium to under 300-kilograms. The exemptions supposedly pertained to uranium in “waste form,” according to the report, but the authors noted that that waste was potentially recoverable.

The report’s authors, David Albright and Andrea Stricker, went on to blast President Barack Obama’s administration for keeping these exemptions secret.

“Any rationale for keeping these exemptions secret appears unjustified,” the report said.

Albright told CNN that the additional low enriched uranium could reduce the amount of time needed for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb if it decided to break the accord.

The report said another exemption allowed Iran to operate 19 “hot cells” larger than specified in the accords, larger hot cells could be used to produce plutonium, which can also be used to produce a nuclear weapon.

“We were also worried that these exemptions or decisions by the Joint Commission set bad precedents that Iran is going to use to try and further weaken the conditions of the Iran deal,” added Albright, a physicist and expert on Iran’s nuclear program.

The report’s conclusions were first published by Reuters.

The State Department pushed back Thursday on the report’s findings but noted that the workings of the Joint Commission were always confidential and therefore declined to discuss specifics of the commission’s work.

“The Joint Commission has not and will not loosen any of the commitments and has not provided any exceptions that would allow Iran to retain or process material In excess of its (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) limits that it could use in a breakout scenario,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.

“There’s been no cutting of slack,” he added.

The White House also criticized the report Thursday, with spokesman Josh Earnest saying the administration had “significant objections” to it.

“Iran is in compliance with the agreement. That’s not my opinion. That’s not rhetoric. That is not a conjecture. That is a fact that is verified by independent international experts who, because of the agreement, now have the kind of access that is required to verify it,” Earnest said.

Kirby said that the International Atomic Energy Agency had also confirmed that Iran was fulfilling its obligations under the deal, noting that Iran’s “breakout” period for obtaining a nuclear weapon had been extended from several months to a year as a result of the deal.

A senior State Department official offered an even more strident rebuttal, telling CNN, “The United States and its partners did not and will not allow Iran to skirt its JCPOA commitments.”

The official said that Iran met all of its commitments on implementation day and that “Any assertion to the contrary is completely false.”

“Iran has never been over its 300 kilogram limit for low enriched uranium,” the official added.

The White House also criticized the report Thursday, with spokesman Josh Earnest saying the administration had “significant objections.”

“Iran is in compliance with the agreement. That’s not my opinion. That’s not rhetoric. That is not a conjecture. That is a fact that is verified by independent international experts who, because of the agreement, now have the kind of access that is required to verify it,” Earnest said.

Republicans were quick to use the report’s conclusions to criticize the administration.

“This latest report further confirms that the Obama administration has consistently misled the American people on the Iran nuclear deal,” the Republican Jewish Coalition wrote in a statement.

Albright sounded a pessimistic note on the future of the agreement during his interview with CNN.

“The trend, in my mind, is not good. It’s toward weakening the deal instead of strengthening the deal,” he said.

Iran recently announced an expansion of its civilian nuclear capabilities, saying that construction will begin on two more Russian-built nuclear reactors at the Bushehr nuclear power plant next week, according to the country’s atomic energy chief quoted on state-run IRNA Wednesday.

CNN’s Samantha Reyes contributed to this report.