The Iran Nuclear Deal: The Verification Challenge

  • September 17, 2016
  • Mr. Mark A. Carter

On July 20, 2015, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an international agreement on the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran, hereafter referred to as Iran. The JCPOA was negotiated between Iran and the five permanent members of the UNSC, plus Germany (P5+1) to eliminate Iran’s path to the development of a nuclear weapon. The signatories to the JCPOA state the agreement puts in place safeguard measures that prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon or weapons-grade nuclear material. The JCPOA is the first agreement to limit fissile material and uranium enrichment capability since the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty entered into force in 1970. As a historic agreement and one that affects the Middle East, and possibly global, security, it is appropriate to analyze its safeguard provisions to determine if deficiencies in coverage exist and the ramifications of such deficiencies. This analysis will demonstrate that P5+1 claim that the JCPOA has completely, and indefinitely, blocked Iranian attempts to develop a nuclear weapon is not verifiable.