IEAE Report on Iran: Inspectors Conducted 427 Visits in 2016

According to figures released by IAEA, the agency conducted 25 snap inspections in the first 12 months since the JCPOA was implemented in Jan. 2016.According to figures released by IAEA, the agency conducted 25 snap inspections in the first 12 months since the JCPOA was implemented in Jan. 2016.

Iran has received nearly two snap nuclear inspections a month and almost double the number of visits IAEA monitors paid five years ago, indicating the value of the 2015 deal the US and five other world powers reached on the country's nuclear program.

International Atomic Energy Agency monitors conducted 402 site visits and 25 snap inspections in the first 12 months since the deal was implemented in Jan. 2016, according to data from reports to IAEA members, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

The figures may help dispel doubts over the adequacy of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement involving the US, China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK.

The deal has been under threat since US President Donald Trump took office. He pledged to tear up the agreement in his election campaign and his United Nations envoy, Nikki Haley, last week questioned what the US gets out of it.

The nuclear deal laid to rest western claims of the Iranian nuclear program's perceived threat allegedly looming over the world. The US was involved in the nuclear case, not because the international community sought its help, but because it was the main instigator of the hostile smear campaigns against Iran.

Therefore, Haley should know that if the US were to simply pull out of the deal and mind its own business, it will stop the further loss of credibility the US suffered when the world verified the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.

If it pulls out of the deal, the US will face isolation and realize that the world does not care a hoot about its illogical stance.      

The IAEA reported on Aug. 31 that Iran has fulfilled its commitments under the pact, which capped nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief, and Trump has until Oct. 15 to decide whether to certify Iran's compliance.

"The JCPOA represents a clear gain for nuclear verification," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told officials on Sept. 5 in Slovenia, just hours before Haley spoke at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

"Iran is subject to the world's most robust nuclear verification regime," he declared.

Iran's nuclear program is back on the agenda for the IAEA's quarterly board meeting this week in Vienna.

***Speaking Clearly

"Actions speak louder than words in the JCPOA, and Iran is speaking clearly," said Robert Kelley, an American nuclear weapons engineer who directed IAEA inspections in Iraq, Libya and South Africa.

"We know from the CIA that Iran did have a nuclear weapons program before 2004, and we know from the JCPOA that they stopped it. They have submitted to intrusive inspections to prove they have stopped."

Iran denies western claims that it had been seeking to develop nuclear weapons capability, saying its program has always been only for civilian applications.

One of the agency's most powerful tools is "Complementary Access," or so-called snap inspections, which provide short-notice access to nuclear sites and other facilities and were not an option for the IAEA before the nuclear deal.

The 25 inspections carried out by IAEA in Iran last year was the most for any country in at least five years, agency data show.

If the US finds Iran in non-compliance, that could trigger the re-imposition of sanctions and signal trouble for the transparency demanded by the accord.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has warned that while his country will not be the first to violate the terms of the accord, it will also not stand by and allow the US to disregard its own obligations.

Sticking to the agreement may be the best way for Haley and the Trump administration to reduce concerns over the potential for undeclared nuclear activities, according to Andreas Persbo, the executive director of Vertic, a London-based nuclear-policy researcher that advises European governments.

Under inspections criteria spelled out by the accord, more than 400 IAEA monitors are assigned to Iran and on the lookout for possible violations.

"The JCPOA has increased the inspection effort in Iran, placed all its declared facilities under international safeguards and halted the growth of Iran's nuclear capabilities," Persbo said. "This increased level of transparency is to the benefit of all, including the United States."

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