Are IAEA Inspectors Up to the Task in Iran?

Posted July 16, 2015 at 5:00am

“The Iran deal has been announced and, if the votes come through, IAEA monitors will set up shop in Iran to ensure Tehran has relinquished its efforts to build a nuclear bomb,” writes Defense One . “The fact that the Obama administration, its partners, and others have such confidence in the inspections process is why there’s a deal at all.”  

“Mass spectronomy equipment, which measures the mass-to-charge ratio of gaseous ions, can track not only radiation levels but the types of particles in the air or on surfaces. They’ve gotten much smaller and more capable in the last decade.”  

“Despite the new gear, monitoring Iran’s nuclear activity will be incredibly challenging… For one thing, the agreement allows Iran scientists to continue some nuclear research — just not bomb-building. The Iranians will be allowed to keep several centrifuges and uranium hexafluoride. The Arak heavy-water reactor will be modified to reduce plutonium enrichment but will still have fuel cores… All this radioactive residue will make it far more difficult to figure out what’s new and what’s old.”  

The Washington Post  explains how the IAEA ” has learned from its shortcomings in the 1990s, when regimes in North Korea and Iraq exposed weaknesses in the U.N. agency’s safeguards and protocols. It commands a wide spectrum of tools —from highly-sophisticated commercial satellite technology, to infrared and radar imaging to its own laboratories where tests of environmental samples can be carried out — that can be brought to bear.”  

“Combined with the likely cooperation of foreign intelligence organizations with the IAEA, the scrutiny on Iran would make it difficult for the regime to hide the construction of another subterranean nuclear facility like the Fordow enrichment plant, which is perched beneath a mountain near the holy city of Qom.”