As Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) remain engaged in intense discussions on a political framework for a final nuclear deal, much has been written and argued about crucial aspects of the negotiations, such as the extent of uranium enrichment, the future of the Arak heavy water reactor and Fordow, the duration of a final deal and the pace of sanctions relief.
However, less attention has been paid to the one key component that underlies all of the aforementioned: verification.
Any agreement will be dependent on a mutually agreed level of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supervision. Conversely, the first victim of a breakdown in negotiations is likely to be the latter.
To get an idea of the level of IAEA supervision in Iran, it’s helpful to adopt a comparative approach. Each nuclear dossier is, of course, different, and Iran’s is perhaps the most contested. Nevertheless, putting the IAEA’s presence in Iran within the context of the agency’s work with other Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatories puts things in perspective.
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