The IAEA and Iran: How Inspections Work

The nuclear deal with Iran is essentially grand bargain: Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for a gradual easing of international and national sanctions. But as President Obama is fond of saying, the agreement is not based on trust. It’s based on verification. And the entity responsible for verifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear accord is the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Here with me to discuss how the IAEA will go about this mission is Tom Collina, policy director of the Ploughshares Fund. We discuss the diplomatic pressures under which the IAEA will operate and the technical tools at inspectors’ disposal. We also discuss the personality of its executive director Yukia Amano, a Japanese diplomat who is suddenly one of the most important and consequential players in Middle East diplomacy.

(For those of you really interested in the history of the IAEA and also want more mechanics on how inspections work, I recommend you check out my April interview with Thomas Shea, a former IAEA nuclear weapons inspector. We recorded that interview just as the Framework Agreement, which lead to this final agreement, was being negotiated.)

If you are interested in learning more about the UN organization at the heart of this nuclear deal and getting a deeper understanding of how inspections work, you will enjoy this episode.

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