Don’t Get Suckered by Policy WonksPosted: January 10, 2014
Sorry for the radio silence lately. The holidays, including a nasty stomach virus and a car accident (no one hurt, fortunately) got in the way. And now I’m freezing my neutrons off in Ottawa, Canada where I’m teaching a short course for a couple of weeks. Very nice people and a good international law faculty here, though.
I just saw this piece at Foreign Affairs by Mitchell Reiss and Ray Takeyh, entitled “Don’t Get Suckered by Iran: Fix the Problems with the Interim Accord.” I won’t bother to go through their analysis and recommendations point by point. I basically disagree with them on everything.
I thought I would, though, draw attention to the misunderstanding of international law demonstrated by this piece – illustrative of the misunderstandings of law so often present in the writings of arms control policy wonks.
At one point the authors say:
Any verification agreement should include the so-called additional protocol, which gives international inspectors the right to examine any facility they deem suspect, and to do so on short notice, so that proscribed activities or equipment cannot be moved or hidden.
That’s not a simplified version of what the AP provides for, it’s just plain incorrect.
Under the AP, IAEA inspectors absolutely cannot just examine any facility they “deem suspect.” They can visit any facility on a declared site, but for non-declared sites they can only visit for the purpose of limited environmental sampling.
The AP doesn’t automatically give the IAEA access to the entirety of an NNWS party’s territory and all facilities thereon. It really only expands IAEA inspectors’ ability to verify the non-diversion of fissile material from peaceful uses to military uses through an expanded declaration by the safeguarded state, and through shortened notice windows. Required notice under the AP is typically 24 hours, down from the one week notice window under the INFCIRC/153 CSR.
And it should also be noted that the AP does not in any way expand the IAEA’s inspection or assessment mandate with regard to possible military dimensions of a safeguarded state’s nuclear program. PMD issues are just as far outside the mandate of the IAEA with regard to a state with an AP, as they are with regard to a state with just a CSA.
Now, I do think that Iran will need to (and I think is perfectly willing to) accept the AP as part of a final deal on its nuclear program. But no one should be under any misapprehension of the AP as some panacea to the limits of IAEA authority to verify Iran’s compliance with its safeguards obligations.