With President Trump expected to try to come up with some excuse to weasel out of the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, Ambassador Nikki Haley has been backing his efforts to vilify the deal. Most recently, that’s centered on inspections.
Under the P5+1 deal, the IAEA conducts a massive number of inspections on Iran’s nuclear sites regularly. Haley, however, has been pressing them to conduct inspections against sites with no links to the civilian nuclear program, specifically military facilities.
The P5+1 agreement includes clauses permitting such inspections, if there was evidence of nuclear activity at such sites. The ones Haley is pushing for, however, were sites that the IAEA admitted questions about were resolved years ago. Haley is accusing Russia of blocking these new inspections, and claims the nuclear deal is “empty” without them.
Yet it’s not Russia that’s blocking the IAEA from carrying out the inspections. Rather, and the IAEA has been very public with this, there are no grounds for them to seek access to these sites in the first place, and they have no intention of doing so because the US is offering to reason for such investigations.
The reality is that past IAEA inspections of military sites, while turning up nothing, also publicly leaked a bunch of irrelevant information about Iran’s conventional military arsenal. Knowing Iran would object to more frivolous inspections as tantamount to spying, Haley is pushing the idea explicitly because Iran would likely say no, and that would give the US a pretext to cancel the deal.