August 29, 2022 | Foreign Policy

Rafael Grossi Is the Last Man Standing For Nonproliferation

Despite pressure from various sides, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency won’t let Iran off the hook.
August 29, 2022 | Foreign Policy

Rafael Grossi Is the Last Man Standing For Nonproliferation

Despite pressure from various sides, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency won’t let Iran off the hook.

“Grossi is still the main obstacle to the finalization” of a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, proclaimed Nour News, an outlet frequently used by Iran’s supreme leader for unofficial commentary. Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), may in fact be the last man standing against a shorter, weaker version of the 2015 nuclear deal that would irreparably harm the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Despite imminent pressure from all sides, including Washington, Grossi is refusing to close his agency’s probe into Tehran’s suspect atomic activities to pave the way for the accord’s revival.

Iran demands the permanent closure of the IAEA’s four-year-old investigation before a new deal can unfold, aiming to keep its nuclear weapons work hidden from the prying eyes of inspectors. The IAEA has already given in once: In 2015, the so-called P5+1 group of countries—the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China—joined the rest of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors in a unanimous vote to close the agency’s inquiry into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA, led by then-Director-General Yukiya Amano, took this step despite Tehran’s untruthful answers to the agency’s questions.

Thankfully, Grossi has refused to bow to political pressure and repeat his predecessor’s mistake. Now, he must prepare for a potential showdown not just with Iran, but also with the rest of the IAEA’s member countries, including those negotiating the new nuclear deal.

Since 2018, the IAEA has been investigating Iranian activities related to the production of nuclear material at four sites in the early 2000s that the regime failed to declare at the time to the IAEA, as required by Iran’s safeguards agreement with the agency. This legal obligation stems from the regime’s adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which mandates the IAEA with important safeguarding duties to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The investigation is therefore not directly related to the 2015 nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Grossi must prepare for a potential showdown not just with Iran, but also with the other countries negotiating the new nuclear deal.

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Issues:

International Organizations Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Nuclear Nonproliferation