The International Atomy Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday was set to end its 12-year investigation into Iran’s nuclear weapons program, leading the way for sanctions to be lifted and normalized international relations with Iran to resume.
“While it was not possible for the agency to reconstruct all the details of activities conducted by Iran in the past, we were able to clarify enough elements to provide an assessment of the whole picture,” said Yukiya Amano, director of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.
The investigation’s closure comes despite the fact that earlier this month, the IAEA published a report revealing that Tehran did indeed have a nuclear weapons program at least through 2003. Iran has publicly denied the existence of a weapons program, claiming that its nuclear program has peaceful purposes. Amano said Iran’s weaponization activities were focused on scientific studies and obtaining “certain relevant technical competencies and capabilities.”
In July, the P5+1 powers (including the United States) agreed on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—a deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of at least $100 billion in economic sanctions.
“Significant progress has been made on the Iran nuclear issue, but now is not the time to relax,” Amano said. “This issue has a long and complex history, and the legacy of mistrust between Iran and the international community must be overcome.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement that it “deplores” the IAEA’s decision to close the probe into an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
“The IAEA is closing this file even after discovering further suspicious evidence and experiencing additional Iranian obstinacy,” AIPAC said. “The IAEA could have recommended delaying Implementation Day until Iran demonstrated substantial compliance with its obligation to explain its past illicit nuclear activities. This decision to whitewash the past represents an inauspicious beginning to the implementation process of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”