Challenges in Nuclear Verification: The IAEA’s Role on the Iranian Nuclear Issue
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has for almost 60 years been at the forefront of international efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Its safeguards system is indispensable in providing credible assurance that states are honouring their international obligations, including under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and ensuring that any misuse of nuclear material or technology by a state can be quickly detected.
The IAEA has been addressing the Iran nuclear issue for over 10 years. More recently, it has played a critical role in verifying and monitoring the implementation of nuclear-related measures agreed by Iran under the Joint Plan of Action negotiated by Iran and the P5+1 countries. It is likely to play a central role in monitoring and verifying nuclear-related measures under any comprehensive agreement that may be reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries.
On October 31, the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at Brookings hosted IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who discussed the IAEA’s role in nuclear verification, including in monitoring the November 2013 interim agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran. Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Einhorn moderated the question and answer session.
This event is part of the Alan and Jane Batkin International Leaders Forum Series, a new event series hosted by Foreign Policy at Brookings which brings global political, diplomatic and thought leaders to Washington, D.C. for major policy addresses.
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The question with this administration is, what will Trump see as an acceptable return for this waiver [granted to India for its trade with Russia and Iran]? Will he demand a transaction in return, some give on the trade side or a big defence deal for the US as well? Russia and Iran are sticking points, but the fact that the Trump administration is dealing with these privately is a sign of how much the relationship has changed. [Mr Trump] usually doesn’t give out freebies.
For all of us who care about preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb, what’s the best way to keep preventing that? [The JCPOA is] not perfect, but it’s something. These conventions are never based on the premise that all the parties are telling the truth, it’s about enforcement mechanisms. No arms control agreement is based in trust.