Coronavirus Complicates On-Site Monitoring of Iran Nuclear Deal

Growing reliance on online enrichment monitoring

The decision as part of the P5+1 nuclear deal to install a wide array of electronic monitoring of Iran’s civilian nuclear program is starting to look like a pretty smart move, as the IAEA is coming to increasingly rely on that in the face of Iran’s coronavirus outbreak.

In addition to constant online enrichment monitoring, Iran has committed to give the IAEA inspectors access to the sites. Normally this means a lot of people coming and going, but the virus is making that a bit of a struggle.

“Staff safety is our paramount concern,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said, and that’s meant questioning whether all these trips to Iran, with potential exposure and inevitable quarantines, are really necessary.

While the US keeps pushing the IAEA to do manual verification, IAEA officials say the remote systems are really working fantastically, and they are wondering if they can get even more monitoring equipment installed.

Some say this may even bring the IAEA and Iran closer together on cooperation, as verifying the deal continues to be a priority for Iran, and the remote monitoring is much less intrusive than inspectors.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of