The International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors will convene in Vienna today for its quarterly review, which is likely to focus on the failing Iran nuclear deal.
The meeting comes as the IAEA, along with the remaining signatories of the Iran deal, struggle to keep the agreement alive. Earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced plans to reactivate Iran’s most sensitive nuclear enrichment site, Fordow. The facility reignites a contentious issue from the original JCPOA negotiations due to its location under a mountain, making it more difficult to dismantle in the case of armed conflict with Iran.
While Iran maintains the move is reversible, it has raised concerns among the remaining signatories that it is critically shortening the time it would take to develop a nuclear weapon. While none of the steps immediately puts Iran in that position, they do move it closer to the ability to develop a bomb in a year, something the JCPOA was intended to stop.
The IAEA and EU foreign ministers continue to affirm their support for the Iran nuclear deal but are exploring ways to limit further escalations. One possible solution is triggering the dispute mechanism in the JCPOA, which would start the clock on a 30-day period to force Iran to comply with JCPOA provisions. Should that fail, which is likely, the matter would then be brought before the UN Security Council and could result in the imposition of sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.
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