Iran Blocks IAEA Inspectors While Advancing Nuclear Program

U.S., Europeans Say ‘No Credible Civil Justification’ For Work

(New York, N.Y.) — The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to flagrantly violate its obligations to cooperate with experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations-backed body charged with ensuring nuclear technology is safe, secure, and used for peaceful purposes. The Iranian regime has stymied the IAEA’s work, however, by blocking inspectors from certain nuclear sites and withholding video captured by the Agency’s monitoring equipment that it had previously agreed to release.

These provocative actions against the IAEA have been initiated against the backdrop of the regime taking the ‘unprecedented’ step of producing High Enriched Uranium and significant quantities of uranium metal. According to the U.S., France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, uranium metal has “no credible civil justification” but can be used to manufacture the core of a nuclear bomb. Iran is prohibited by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) from any work on uranium metal. 

To maintain its legitimacy and integrity, the IAEA must respond to Iran’s non-compliance and nonperformance with its obligations. As a first step, the IAEA Board of Governors “should finally adopt a resolution on Iran's non-compliance with its safeguards obligations,” as former IAEA Deputy Director General and United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) Advisory Board member Olli Heinonen recommends, “and set a timeline for Iran to respond to the request. If Iran does not address in a verifiable manner these requests, the issue should be referred to the [United Nations Security Council].” Also, the IAEA should demand that Iran resolve the possible military dimensions (PMD) and undeclared activity of its nuclear program and ensure full and unrestricted access for IAEA inspectors. 

In September 2021, the IAEA Board of Governors declined to take this step after Iran threatened that any formal action stemming from its failure to cooperate with the Agency would have imperiled the possibility of further direct or indirect talks with negotiators from the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, and China. Iran suspended direct talks on its nuclear program following the election of hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi to the Iranian presidency. Iran also demanded this week that the U.S. release $10 billion in frozen assets as a precondition to restarting talks.

To read UANI’s resource Nuclear Program Overview, please click here. 

To read UANI’s report, What’s Wrong With the JCPOA?, please click here.