IAEA Investigation into Iran’s Past Nuclear Weapons Work Likely to Remain Unresolved

The Daily TIP

The Israel Project

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) investigation into Iran’s past nuclear weapons work is likely to remain inconclusive, while the US is expected to refrain from insisting on full disclosure, according to an AP analysis published on Monday. Iran has for years stonewalled the IAEA and refused to provide the agency with access to sites, people, and information related to the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of its nuclear program. In a statement last Thursday about the report, IAEA head Yukiya Amano said, “we are not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Secretary of State John Kerry has previously stated that if there’s going to be a deal, Iran will have to come clean on its past nuclear work. However, the administration’s position has since shifted and the AP analysis released on Monday states that the administration “is signaling that it is prepared to shut an eye” regarding Iran’s past military nuclear activities. According to another AP report, two diplomats indicated that although Iran is expected to continue to deny its weaponization activities, the U.S. and the other members of the P5+1 are unlikely to be too critical of Iran, fearing that this would jeopardize the nuclear deal. Top Iranian officials have threatened that Iran will not abide by the agreement unless the IAEA closes its investigation. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi accidentally revealed his strategy in August, stating that his country’s threats “will cause the Westerners themselves to pressure the IAEA to wrap up the case as soon as possible, so that the deal could be implemented.”

The administration reportedly believes that Iranian disclosure “is unlikely and unnecessary.” However, lack of knowledge regarding Iran’s PMDs will undermine the IAEA’s ability to design an effective verification system, calculate Iran’s breakout time, and ensure that activities related to the development of nuclear weapons have ceased. President of the Institute for Science and International Security David Albright has warned that “ambiguity over Iran’s nuclear weaponization accomplishments and residual capabilities risks rendering an agreement unverifiable by the IAEA.” His institute tweeted: “Iran demands closure of PMD file ==> Iran should fully come clean about what it did.” Furthermore, Emily Landau, the Institute for National Security Studies’ top arms control expert argues that exposing Iran’s past military nuclear activities is essential in order to counter Iran’s false narrative and expose its intent to develop nuclear weapons.