Iran Clarifies Changes to IAEA Inspector Access in February

Inspectors will stay, but short-notice inspections will be curbed

Iranian officials are trying to clarify what’s going to happen with IAEA inspectors in February. An Iranian MP said all inspectors would be expelled, while the foreign ministry reported yesterday that there would be no expulsions.

Government spokesmen now say that Iran’s real intention is to curb short-notice inspection requests by the IAEA, but that the inspectors themselves can remain. This dials back the instant access they have been given to all sites since the P5+1 deal started.

This is a reasonable compromise, as it keeps inspectors assuring the world that Iran is not transferring its nuclear materiel to non-approved purposes, while at the same time allowing parliament to pull the reins a bit after the assassination of a top nuclear scientist.

With some hope in the Rouhani government that Biden might return the US to the P5+1 deal, they did not want to go overboard and imperil the process. It remains to be seen if this will keep the hardliners in parliament at ease, but with a mid-February deadline set, it’s possible that a deal might start coming together before anyone needs to worry about it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.