Despite U.S. Concessions, the IAEA Can Take Tehran to Task
The following is an excerpt:
Rafael Grossi, the director general of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is losing patience with Iran’s nuclear duplicity. Last week, he took Tehran to task for failing to explain uranium traces found in at least two sites during agency visits to the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is a “big problem” that damages Iran’s credibility, Grossi explained. He demanded that the clerical regime immediately “come clean.” In an IAEA report released on Sunday, Grossi demanded full transparency from Iran in order for the agency to provide assurances of the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program.
Grossi’s announcement and the agency report come at a critical moment. The Biden administration is currently negotiating a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with Iran in Vienna. But, as American diplomats tout the necessity of a JCPOA return, the U.N. nuclear chief made it clear that the agreement is outdated. The agreement does not address Tehran’s increased nuclear expertise or its development of advanced centrifuges. Nor does it address Iran’s nuclear weapons activities. In Grossi’s words, “You cannot put the genie back into the bottle.”
The Iranian strategy in Vienna is obvious: wield the threat of nuclear escalation to extort tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and win tacit permission to forge ahead on nuclear R&D. Under a restored JCPOA, Tehran’s clerical regime will be legally allowed to install advanced centrifuges, build up its enrichment capabilities and wait for key restrictions to sunset over the next two to nine years. After 2030, none of the JCPOA’s prohibitions on the Islamic Republic’s ability to enrich massive uranium quantities to weapon-grade will still be in effect.