By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and five other world powers would be able to detect any military capabilities of Iran's nuclear program for at least 10 years under a framework deal agreed upon earlier this month, the U.S. energy secretary said on Thursday.
For 10 years at minimum, "we will have a very comfortable ability to detect any military activity related to the nuclear program and we would have adequate time to respond," Secretary Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist who participated in the Iran talks, said on CNBC about the plan.
Under the deal, which Iran, the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are working to finalize by late June, U.N. inspectors would have access to Tehran's nuclear facilities deemed to be suspicious, officials involved in the talks have said.
Inspector access to Iran's military facilities is a contentious issue, sure to be a debating point as the talks progress. On Sunday, Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of the Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, rejected any inspections of military sites as a "national humiliation" in comments cited by a state news agency.
Moniz told CNBC said agreements under the framework deal would give world powers access to Iran's uranium supply chain for 25 years in a "completely unprecedented way." In addition, the plan would "essentially forever" commit Iran to verification that goes beyond agreements that international nuclear inspectors have anywhere else, he said.
(Additional reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Emily Stephenson and Susan Heavey)