NCRI - Yukiya Amano, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director, is expected to meet with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, on Thursday in New York. It is believed that the Trump administration's next move on Iran is at stake.
After the US President de-certified Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal last month, it passed to Congress to determine whether or not the U.S. actually withdraws from the agreement.
Trump has referred to the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as "an embarrassment."
Earlier this week, a dozen key U.S. Senators submitted a list of items to Haley for her to raise with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency "in order to obtain more thorough vetting of Iranian compliance with the deal.” Haley’s mandate is to get the IAEA to inspect Iranian military facilities and strengthen reporting and verification requirements.
In their letter to Haley the senators said, "When unveiling the JCPOA, President Obama promised that, 'inspectors will also be able to access any suspicious location’."
Thursday will not be the first meeting on Iran that Haley has had with Amano. In August, she traveled to Vienna to try to ramp up pressure on Tehran over its continued ballistic missile tests. She met with some of the technical experts who monitor nuclear activities, including those in Iran governed by the nuclear pact signed by the U.S., a handful of its allies, Russia and Iran.
However, after allegations that the IAEA's inspection regime in Iran is too soft, Amano is starting to push back. "Some people believe that our verification activities are weak. This is not true," Amano said this week. Additionally, Amano said last week at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars that "the nuclear-related commitments made by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented.”
Under Mr. Trump, the U.S. has imposed sweeping new unilateral sanctions that point to Iran's missile launches, human rights record, and support of terrorism abroad.
Trump and the U.S. Congress have questioned other aspects of the 2015 nuclear deal, which gives the IAEA the authority to request inspections. At issue now is the interpretation of how and where these inspections take place.
The monitoring and verification of the deal that is found in a provision that lays out access to Iran's military sites, known as "Section T," in Annex 1 of the JCPOA is at issue. That section prohibits Iran from activities related to nuclear weapons, and it puts equipment that is known as "dual-use" under controls, because it could be used in nuclear weapons development.
However, Iran rejects any inspection of its military sites. Still, opening those locations up to IAEA monitors is at the core of the debate about whether the U.S. remains a party to, or abandons, the nuclear agreement.
Amano admits that he had concerns about the IAEA's ability to verify some of Iran's undeclared past nuclear activities — the evidence doesn't exist anymore — but he says the agency has access to the sites it needs today.
Amano wants Iran to comply with an agreement called the "Additional Protocol," to ensure verification. Iran's government signed this agreement, but has yet to ratify it.
Also in Washington this week meeting with Trump administration officials and Congressional representatives is the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who is following up on her meeting with all the principals on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in September, and is hoping to keep the U.S. in the deal.