Iran Boosting Nuclear Access Isn’t Enough as IAEA Seeks MoreJonathan Tirone
International nuclear monitors who today verified Iran is living up to its interim agreement with six world powers said that the Persian Gulf nation still needs to boost cooperation to remove remaining doubts.
Iran has eliminated the stockpile of its most sensitive nuclear material, frozen the number of machines it uses to enrich uranium and let inspectors into agreed nuclear facilities, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a 19-page report that will be presented this month in Vienna.
“Iran’s engagement with the agency, including the provision of information, and the agency’s ongoing analysis” are building a better understanding of Iran’s nuclear program, the inspectors said in the report. The IAEA isn’t though “in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.”
Eleven years into the United Nations’ investigation and two decades after the U.S. warned Iran may make nuclear weapons, diplomats are closer than ever to de-escalating tensions, with the future size and scope of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program the main obstacle. Diplomats have until Nov. 24 to piece together a permanent settlement from the temporary accord currently in place which caps Iran’s nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.
The IAEA said it wasn’t ready to accept Iranian explanations about its development of advanced detonators, neutron-transport models and high explosives until it understands how they fit into a “system,” the report said. The technologies can be used for commercial or conventional military purposes, or developing nuclear devices.
The IAEA and Iran will continue to hold technical meetings in an effort to resolve suspicions over possible military dimensions. There are around a dozen concerns that still need to be cleared up.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has repeatedly said that his inspectors are working on their own timeline and may not meet the deadline sought by world powers and Iran for a permanent accord.
The IAEA has come under pressure over how it has conducted its Iran investigation. Previously reported “shrouding” meant to cover-up work at Iran’s Parchin military complex was more likely part of “ongoing construction activity,” the IAEA reported today. Inspectors still want access to the site, where Iran allegedly conducted nuclear-related experiments.
The practice of “passing intelligence to the IAEA and allowing the agency to embarrass Iran by reporting that it has failed to respond adequately to ‘allegations’ has not been conducive to the peaceful resolution of differences,” Peter Jenkins, the U.K.’s former envoy to the IAEA, and Richard Dalton, former U.K. ambassador to Iran, said yesterday in a report while noting Iran also needs to boost its cooperation with inspectors.