Section T of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—as the agreement to restrict the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is formally known—forbids Tehran from engaging in certain activities, and from producing or acquiring certain equipment, that would be necessary for building atomic weapons. Furthermore, it requires regular inspection of specific Iranian military sites. Yet, no such inspections seem to be taking place and, just earlier this week, an Iranian official stated outright that his government would not allow any such inspections. David Albright and Olli Heinonen explain:
Section-T verification requires the establishment of a routine inspection approach, which takes into account provisions for access to sensitive locations. Unlike the visits associated with the Parchin [research] site or past nuclear-weapons work, . . . Section-T verification should not be based on alleging violations but instead on ensuring compliance by regular IAEA monitoring. . . .
To verify Section T, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will need to ask Iran to describe or declare in writing its capabilities associated with [certain activities and types of equipment covered therein]. IAEA access [to the relevant sites] would be part of verifying these declarations. Iran may deny having any such capabilities, a statement which the IAEA would also have to verify. However, based on open sources and IAEA reporting, Iran is known to have engaged in activities covered by Section T. . . .
It is likely that some of the conditions in Section T are currently not being met and may in fact be violated by Iran.
Until suitable action is taken, the IAEA and the parties to the JCPOA are allowing the agreement to go unenforced, and Iran may well be developing detonation systems and other equipment necessary for a nuclear bomb—and getting away with it.