IAEA says ‘Iran complying with its obligations under JCPOA’: former CIA official

March 8, 2016 - 0:0

TEHRAN – A former deputy chief of counter-terrorism at the CIA says the IAEA report, the first of its kind since the implementation of the JCPOA, basically states that “Iran is in compliance so far with its obligations under the JCPOA.”

In an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times, Professor Paul Pillar says, “The IAEA report is a summary of the agency's conclusions about Iranian compliance so far with the JCPOA and of any new developments since the agency's previous report.”
In a statement issued on Monday IAEA chief Yukiya Amano told the Board of Governors that the UN nuclear watchdog “has found no indication of the diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities in Iran.”
Following is the text of the interview with Pillar:
Q: How do you assess the first IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear activities since the implementation of the JCPOA on Jan. 16?
A: The report basically says that Iran is in compliance so far with its obligations under the JCPOA. The one minor exception was that Iran briefly went slightly over an agreed limit to the amount of heavy water it is permitted to have. The amount exceeded the limit by less than a ton, and the breach of the limit was promptly corrected.
Q: Some experts such as former IAEA official Olli Heinonen say that the report doesn't include the details that IAEA report is based on. For instance, Heinonen says the report has little information about the enrichment, centrifuges components, and implementation of the JCPOA?
A: Outside experts always would like to have more detailed data. And in the case of a critic such as Dr. Heinonen, who was voicing suspicions about the viability of a nuclear agreement with Iran even well before the JCPOA was completed, no amount of details will ever be enough for satisfaction. The IAEA report is a summary of the agency's conclusions about Iranian compliance so far with the JCPOA and of any new developments since the agency's previous report. The report is not presented or intended as a comprehensive description of everything Iran is doing on nuclear matters. If enough outside dissatisfaction is expressed, perhaps the IAEA will provide somewhat more details in its next report, but I still would not expect a comprehensive description each time of the entire nuclear program. The critical thing most people want to know is whether, in the view of the agency that has been entrusted with this job, Iran is complying with its obligations.
Q: Heinonen also expresses his dissatisfaction about IAEA monitoring mechanism and asks for prompt and surprise inspections. Is his request based on IAEA's monitoring mechanism?
A: Iran's declared nuclear facilities are all under continuous monitoring, using both technical capabilities and human monitors. There really isn't much more that could be done to make this monitoring any more intrusive. The issues that critics have raised have mainly had to do with special inspections of other facilities that Iran says are not the site of nuclear activities. There never was going to be unlimited access granted to an inspecting agency to go anywhere it wants whenever it wants without any advance notice or discussion with the host country. No country would agree to that. The JCPOA does provide for inspections anywhere if the IAEA has a reason to go to a non-declared facility. The agreement establishes a consultative procedure that guarantees that, if disagreement between the IAEA and Iran were to persist, the IAEA will still be able to inspect the non-declared facility in question. Much has been made of a 24-day time limit specified in the agreement in the case of such a disagreement. The 24 days is an outer limit, inserted to make sure the process of consultation does not drag out indefinitely. If a site were under suspicion, the IAEA surely would already be monitoring it as well as it could from afar. If there really were any significant nuclear activities going on illicitly at an undeclared site, it would be very difficult to erase any evidence of this in 24 days.

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Outside experts always would like to have more detailed data. And in the case of a critic such as Dr. Heinonen, who was voicing suspicions about the viability of a nuclear agreement with Iran even well before the JCPOA was completed, no amount of details will ever be enough for satisfaction