Funds running out for Iran nuclear inspections

The IAEA will not be able to properly monitor Iran’s nuclear activities if it does not receive further funding, its director says.

The inspections regime put in place to closely monitor Iran’s nuclear activity is in jeopardy unless the US and other nations contribute more money, the head of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Wednesday.

Yukiya Amano, the agency’s director general, said he used his visit to Washington to make the case for an increase to the Trump administration and to US lawmakers who control the federal budget. He said the Vienna-based agency in 2018 needs a 2.1 percent increase to its regular operating budget of roughly 370 million euros, about $400 million.

“Without an increase, the IAEA will not be able to implement the verification and monitoring activities in Iran,” Amano said.

It costs the IAEA roughly 9.2 million euros, or about $9.9 million, to monitor Iran’s nuclear program under the deal the US and Western powers struck with Tehran. Of that, slightly more than half comes from the agency’s regular budget.

The IAEA also receives “voluntary” contributions above and beyond its regular budget from the US and other countries. But Amano stressed that those funds are ill suited for funding the salaries of IAEA inspectors in Iran, for example, because of the need to ensure the inspectors aren’t seen as beholden to any particular country’s interests.

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Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to limits on its ability to enrich uranium and strict monitoring to ensure compliance, in exchange for easing of economic sanctions. The goal was to ensure Iran couldn’t quickly develop nuclear weapons, although Tehran has always denied that intention.

By: AP