By INU Staff
INU - On Thursday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano once again met with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley regarding Iran's nuclear program.
Amano discussed Iran, North Korea, dirty bombs, nuclear power and climate change, in an interview. He said, "Nuclear activities of Iran have reduced a lot after the JCPOA (Iran deal), so we have a more powerful verification regime to monitor and verify the reduced nuclear activities. That is why we say this is a significant gain for verification.”
He added that, in Iran, the agency is collecting millions of pieces of information each month. The cameras installed in the nuclear facilities are taking hundreds of thousands of images. As well, 2,000 seals have been installed in the nuclear plants. "This is a very strong verification regime by any standard."
Following his meeting with Haley, Amano issued a statement saying that he and Haley discussed the IAEA's verification and monitoring of Iran's implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He stated that he had briefed Ambassador Haley on the IAEA's strong and effective safeguards activities in Iran.
"It was a very useful meeting,” he concluded, ”Iran is now subject to the world's most robust nuclear verification regime, and the IAEA has so far had access to all the locations it needed to visit in the country.”
Haley issued an optimistic statement in which she expressed U.S. support for the IAEA's efforts to carry out strong verification of nuclear-related activities in Iran, and emphasized the "importance of Iran ensuring full and transparent access for the IAEA to carry out their mandated monitoring activities.”
Trump has referred to the 2015 agreement — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — as "an embarrassment."
Earlier this week, a dozen key U.S. Senators submitted a list of items to Haley for her to raise with the IAEA "in order to obtain more thorough vetting of Iranian compliance with the deal.” Haley’s mandate is to get the watchdog agency to boost inspection of Iranian military facilities and strengthen reporting and verification requirements.
Thursday will not be the first meeting on Iran that Haley has had with Amano. In August, she traveled to Vienna to try to ramp up pressure on Tehran over its continued ballistic missile tests. She met with some of the technical experts who monitor nuclear activities, including those in Iran governed by the nuclear pact signed by the U.S., a handful of its allies, Russia and Iran.
Following allegations that the IAEA's inspection regime in Iran is too soft, Amano said, "Some people believe that our verification activities are weak. This is not true.” Additionally, last week at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Amano said that "the nuclear-related commitments made by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented.”
The U.S. has imposed sweeping new unilateral sanctions that point to Iran's missile launches, human rights record, and support of terrorism abroad. Trump and the U.S. Congress have questioned other aspects of the 2015 nuclear deal, which gives the IAEA the authority to request inspections. At issue now is the interpretation of how and where these inspections take place.
The monitoring and verification of the deal that is found in a provision that lays out access to Iran's military sites, known as "Section T," in Annex 1 of the JCPOA is at issue. That section prohibits Iran from activities related to nuclear weapons, and it puts equipment that is known as "dual-use" under controls, because it could be used in nuclear weapons development.
The problem is that Iran rejects any inspection of its military sites, and opening those locations up to IAEA monitors is at the core of the debate about whether the U.S. continues the nuclear agreement.
Amano admits that he had concerns about the IAEA's ability to verify some of Iran's undeclared past nuclear activities, because the evidence no longer exists — he says the agency has access to the sites it needs today. He wants Iran to comply with an agreement called the "Additional Protocol," to ensure verification. Iran's government signed this agreement, but has yet to ratify it.
Also in Washington this week to meet with Trump administration officials and Congressional representatives is the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who is following up on her meeting with all the principals on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in September, and is hoping to keep the U.S. in the deal.