Republican foreign policy leaders in Congress are pushing back against an effort by the Biden administration and its European partners to nix an International Atomic Energy Agency investigation into Iran’s atomic weapons program as part of concessions meant to entice Iran into signing a new nuclear agreement.
Five Republican lawmakers led by Rep. Claudia Tenney (R., N.Y.) wrote to the IAEA that its probe should continue until it has sufficient answers from Iran about its atomic weapons program. Iran has blocked IAEA inspectors from accessing its contested nuclear sites for years, with the international organization disclosing possible Iranian violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as recently as last week. Iran has also removed cameras that monitor its nuclear sites.
With outstanding concerns yet to be addressed, the Biden administration and its European allies “are considering acquiescing to Iran’s demand that the IAEA’s ongoing safeguards probe be terminated before the nuclear deal can be revived,” the lawmakers wrote Wednesday, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. “This probe should be terminated only when all outstanding technical issues and concerns have been addressed and sufficiently resolved.”
As negotiations over a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear deal reach their final stage, questions still remain about how close Iran is to building a nuclear weapon. It has been stockpiling highly enriched uranium—the key component in a bomb—while building out secret military bunkers suspected to house its weapons program. As part of the new nuclear deal, Iran will not be forced to disclose the nature of this work and will be given a greenlight to continue some of its most contested nuclear work, such as the joint construction with Russia of new nuclear reactors.