Iran lied about its past nuclear activities, that’s why we need the JCPOA

Tensions over Iran’s nuclear program escalated after the International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution last week censuring Tehran for failing to cooperate with a years-long investigation into nuclear activities from Tehran’s pre-2003 nuclear weapons program.

While Iran’s retaliation for the censure puts a ticking clock on efforts to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the resolution sent a necessary signal to Iran that there are consequences for stonewalling IAEA inquires and failing to meet legally binding safeguards requirements — even if the nuclear activities under investigation took place two decades ago.

That the Board had to act, however, should also send a message to the United States and its European partners about the imperative of restoring the JCPOA, which effectively and verifiably blocks Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons. It is past time the Biden administration acted with greater urgency and returned to the drawing board to find a creative solution to bridge the remaining gap on an agreement to restore the accord.

Read the full op-ed, published June 14, 2022, in Responsible Statescraft.