Iran needs to cooperate with the IAEA. That isn’t negotiable.

Whatever Iran ultimately decides about returning to compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) years-long investigation into whether Iran failed to declare all of its nuclear materials and activities must continue unimpeded.

While the growing proliferation risk posed by Iran’s advancing nuclear program highlights the urgency of reinstating the JCPOA’s strict limits and intrusive monitoring, there is little, if any, space for the United States and other parties to the agreement to negotiate over the agency’s safeguards probe.

The safeguards investigation is focused on accounting for Iran’s nuclear materials and activities and ensuring they remain in peaceful purposes. Evidence provided by the IAEA suggests Tehran failed to meet its international legal obligations to fully declare its nuclear inventory. This probe is separate from the JCPOA, even if Iran insists on tying the two processes together.

Read the full op-ed, published August 16, 2022, in IranSource.