In the latest report since Implementation Day, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran is complying with its requirements under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached with the United States and five international partners.
The report’s major takeaway is that Iran’s nuclear activity is being fully verified by the Agency’s robust monitoring mechanisms, something that was virtually inconceivable before the deal was signed.
For example, Iran was very briefly over the allotted amount of heavy water permitted under the JCPOA – 130.9 metric tonnes versus 130 metric tonnes allowed. While this seems like a blatant violation of the agreement, it turns out that shipping schedules set the shipment for one week after an Agency inspection. One week later, the IAEA confirmed that 20 metric tonnes of heavy water were shipped out of the country, bringing Iran’s heavy water stock back into JCPOA compliance.
This development is further proof that the Agency has unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear activity, so much so that it noticed a small violation extremely quickly.
Thus far, it’s clear that the verifiable Iran Deal is working. But we can’t be sure that Iran continues to hold up to its commitments unless the IAEA has the resources it needs to monitor the program.
This is why recent calls to increase IAEA funding are more important than ever. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report about the potential challenges for monitoring and verifying the JCPOA in the future. The report mentioned that the IAEA requested an extra $10 million per year of additional funding to make sure all safeguards are properly funded for the Agency.
Since the JCPOA is already in effect, all members of Congress, regardless of their vote on the agreement, have an interest in its effective implementation. Florida Congressman Ted Deutch, a Democrat who opposed the Iran Deal, has wise words for his colleagues: “Instead of looking for partisan ways to try to stop the deal, we should be looking for bipartisan ways to ensure that it is enforced with vigor and with the most stringent verification and compliance.”
If both sides are serious about holding Iran’s nuclear program accountable, then members from the House and Senate must join Senator Coons and vote to make sure that the IAEA has the appropriate resources to do its job.