June 14, 2017 | Memo

Drawing a “Broader Conclusion” on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Download the full memo here.

Under the terms of the nuclear deal with Iran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), key restrictions would expire if  the IAEA formally reaches a “broader conclusion” that Tehran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful. Such a conclusion would result in the lifting of the UN’s remaining non-nuclear sanctions, including the ban on ballistic missile testing and the conventional arms embargo.  Furthermore, the U.S. and EU would delist additional entities from their sanctions lists.  Notably, the EU would delist all entities affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the organization responsible for both terrorist activities abroad as well as key aspects of the nuclear program.

Spurring the IAEA to reach a broader conclusion as quickly as possible appears to be Iran’s goal. In a televised speech in the middle of May, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani expressed his intention to engage in “lifting all the non-nuclear sanctions during the coming four years” – at least two years earlier than the JCPOA would otherwise allow.  Unless additional steps are taken to redress the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) closing of Iran’s possible military dimension (PMD) file in December 2015,  it is technically possible for the IAEA to reach a broader conclusion within four years.

What is Required for the IAEA to Reach a Broader Conclusion?

To reach a broader conclusion, the IAEA needs to be able to conclude – based on extensive verification and analysis of all information available to it – that all nuclear material has remained in peaceful activities, which means that there are no indications of diversion of nuclear material from peaceful activities and no indications of undeclared nuclear material or activities in Iran as a whole.

Despite the IAEA’s previous conclusion that Iran had, in fact, carried out a wide range of activities ‘relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,’ the IAEA Board of Governors reached a political decision in December 2015 to “close” the investigation into the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program, a decision necessary to ensure the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This decision has amplified the IAEA’s shortcoming in its ability to form a composite picture of, and thereby fully monitor, proscribed nuclear weapons development activities in Iran.  Such monitoring and verification is essential to determine the nature of Iran’s nuclear program.


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