Paul R. Pillar
Security, Middle East
The Trump administration is in a box of its own making.
This week the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) convened at the request of the Trump administration to discuss Iran’s nuclear activities. There is no action that, according to the IAEA’s charter and terms of reference, can or should come out of this discussion. The IAEA’s board is not the forum to discuss compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. That is the role of a joint commission established by the JCPOA, but the United States has not been a part of that body ever since the administration reneged on U.S. obligations under the JCPOA and decided it didn’t want anything to do with the agreement. The IAEA board would be the proper forum to discuss any problems regarding Iran living up to its commitments to the agency on nuclear safeguards, including providing international inspectors with agreed access. But there are no such problems; all indications are that Iran is in full compliance with its commitments regarding international inspections and monitoring of its program.
The administration went to the IAEA board because it wants to be seen doing something about an Iranian nuclear issue the administration itself has stirred up, and it has no better ideas on what to do. It is flailing in trying to get out of a box of its own making, and it sees no way to get out—other than the way it refuses to admit, which would be to reverse its own action that built the box in the first place. Everything else that has ensued in what has become perceived as a nuclear crisis with Iran is clearly, wholly, directly, and unsurprisingly the result of the Trump administration reneging on U.S. obligations under the JCPOA. Before that action—and even for a year after that action—Iran was fully complying, as IAEA inspectors have certified, with the agreement’s strict limitations on its nuclear program.
The National Interest
1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)
The Global Security News