The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again made a temporary deal with the Iranian regime following IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi’s recent trip to Tehran.
Grossi, during his trip to the Iranian capital, was focused on the plan of securing the IAEA’s ability to examine the data at the nuclear facilities in Iran in the future and secured a promise from the regime to allow IAEA engineers to perform overdue maintenance on the data collecting equipment.
The agreement is being widely praised in the media for preventing a censure that many viewed as a potential complication to the diplomatic process and even a possible spark for the Iranian regime’s withdrawal from negotiations that have been stalled in Geneva since June.
President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration is expected to increase the number of malign activities undertaken by the regime, as predicted by analysts, and this seems to be supported by the appointment of Mohammad Eslami to the role of Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
Eslami has been a key player in the regime’s nuclear project since the 1980s, particularly when it comes to weaponization. He is known to be acquainted with Abdul Qadeer Khan, the man behind the Pakistani nuclear weapons programs, and as of 2008, he has been sanctioned by the United States for his attempts to bring in equipment for developing nuclear weapons.
Eslami’s emerging role should make the international community extremely skeptical about Iran’s nuclear strategy under the Raisi administration. Eslami replaces an AEOI head who openly boasted to Iranian state media about deceiving the IAEA and creating ‘countermeasures’ to avoid long-term compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
The latest agreement between the IAEA and the regime seems to be a part of ongoing efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal, formerly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This is in contradiction to comments that Grossi made in May, where he acknowledged that it would be inadequate to restore the existing deal.
There can be little question that Grossi and the entire IAEA recognize that that revival is inadequate. This was true while the Rouhani administration was still in power, and it is even truer now that the Raisi administration has taken over.
Even before America withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, the regime was not fully complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. Recent violations have demonstrated how quickly the regime was able to surpass prior peaks of nuclear activity and ramp up its nuclear program activities, despite the restrictions placed on its uranium enrichment program.
Recent reports from the IAEA have revealed that the regime is now stockpiling up to 10kg of uranium that has been enriched up to the 60 percent level, which is close to weapons-grade. Despite the clear indications, the regime continues to deny that they have intentions to develop nuclear weapons.
The regime’s obstructionism prevents the international community from having a proper baseline understanding of how close the regime has come to nuclear weapons capability. This, much like the AEOI’s “countermeasures,” fundamentally defeats the purpose of the JCPOA.