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"[The Arms Control Association is an] 'exceptional organization that effectively addresses pressing national and international challenges with an impact that is disproportionate to its small size.'" 

– John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
January 19, 2011
Kelsey Davenport

Deadline Set for Restoring the Iran Nuclear Deal?

Iran’s retaliation for a censure from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors put a ticking clock on efforts to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran’s decision to disconnect 27 IAEA cameras led the agency’s Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi to declare that the gap in monitoring will be a “fatal blow” to efforts to restore the nuclear deal within 3-4 weeks. At that point, he said that the IAEA’s ability to maintain its continuity of knowledge about Iran’s nuclear activities will be compromised, which impacts...

Experts Call on Biden to Redouble Diplomacy to Restore 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal

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IAEA Director-General Warns “Fatal Blow” to Agreement Could Be 3 to 4 Weeks Away

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2022

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107

(Washington, D.C.)—Experts from the Arms Control Association strongly urge President Joseph Biden to immediately redouble efforts to break the stalemate on talks to restore compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi warned that efforts to restore the JCPOA will face a “fatal blow” within three to four weeks, after Iran announced June 9 that it was disconnecting certain cameras monitoring key nuclear facilities.

“President Biden clearly supports a restoration of mutual compliance with the JCPOA as the best way to roll back Iran’s potential to produce bomb-grade nuclear material and maintain more stringent International Atomic Energy Agency oversight of Iran’s sensitive nuclear activities,” noted Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. “And it is.”

“Unfortunately, the Biden administration has not treated the growing crisis, which was triggered by former President Trump’s irresponsible withdrawal from the agreement in 2018, with the necessary degree of urgency it deserves,” he charged. “In the wake of new disturbing developments, however, the White House must take immediate action.”

This week, Iran disconnected 27 cameras monitoring key nuclear facilities in retaliation for an IAEA Board of Governors resolution urging Iran to cooperate with the agency on its investigation of undeclared nuclear materials from the pre-2003 nuclear weapons program. The IAEA risks losing its continuity of knowledge about Iran’s nuclear activities—which is necessary for restoring the JCPOA—if the cameras remain disconnected for more than 3-4 weeks, Grossi warned June 9.

“A deal to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA is on the table and could be quickly implemented—if the United States and Iran move away from hardline positions on the non-nuclear issue blocking agreement: whether and under what conditions to lift a U.S. foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designation on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),” said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy.

“It is past time for both sides to resolve that impasse and finally deliver on what is in the interest of all sides: an agreement to restore compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal,” she said.

“The Biden Administration continues to argue that it is up to Iran to accept the deal or negotiate over the IRGC designation. But it is a failure of leadership on the part of the White House not to announce it will immediately intensify diplomatic efforts to break the impasse on the issue. And blaming Iran, however emotionally or politically satisfying that may seem to be, doesn’t avert the imminent nuclear crisis and it doesn’t advance U.S. national security interests” Kimball said.

"Biden will pay a small political cost for lifting sanctions on the IRGC, but it pales in comparison to the enormous national and international security threat of a nuclear-armed Iran," Davenport said.

“Currently, Iran could produce enough nuclear material for a bomb in less than 10 days—a window so short Tehran’s actions may not be detected by international inspectors. Restoring the JCPOA’s limits on Iran’s nuclear program will significantly increase that margin to about six months, which provides the international community with enough time to take effective action to counter any Iranian move toward a nuclear weapon,” Davenport said. 

“If President Biden fails to promptly conclude negotiations with Iran to restore the JCPOA, it would perpetuate the failed strategy pursued by the Trump administration and allow Iran to further expand its nuclear program and defy its safeguards obligations with the IAEA. Biden risks going down in history as the president that allowed Iran to reach the brink of a nuclear bomb. It is past time the United States doubled down on creative proposals to break the impasse,” she warned. 

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Experts from the Arms Control Association are calling on President Biden to immediately redouble stalled diplomatic efforts to restore compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which is facing what the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Director-General says could be a “fatal blow” within three to four weeks.

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