Jun 4, 2018, by Jonathan Tirone
Iran has room to cooperate further with international inspectors who conducted a record number of snap visits last year, according to a top diplomat, as doubts about the future of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal remain following the U.S. decision to quit the accord.
“There’s room to provide us with more proactive and timely cooperation,” Yukiya Amano, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s director general, said Monday in Vienna. “I am not saying we have any concerns. The agency has conducted complementary accesses to all the sites and locations in Iran which we needed to visit.”
One of the agency’s most powerful tools is “Complementary Access,” or so-called snap inspections, which provide short-notice entrance to nuclear sites and other facilities and weren’t an option for the IAEA in Iran before the nuclear deal. In 2017, the second full year of the accord, the 35 snap inspections in the Islamic Republic were the most for any country in at least six years, agency data show.
The IAEA’s board of governors convened Monday in Vienna for the first time since U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the agreement that broadened inspections in the country. Amano previously warned that allowing the deal to fail would be a “great loss for nuclear verification.”
The worst-case scenario in the event of the deal collapsing could see Iran leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, potentially casting the Middle East into a new crisis, a senior Iranian official said last week. Conservative hardliners in Tehran, who all along said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was naïve to trust the U.S., have been emboldened by Trump’s move.
The IAEA has only had an “initial exchange of views” with Israeli officials about a new cache of data that allegedly shows nuclear weapons work in Iran, according to Amano. ”We are starting to look into the information and it will take time,” he said.