August 2018 to February 2019
Principal investigator: Dr Trevor Findlay, Senior Research Fellow, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne
Research assistant: Zhongzhou Peng
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA), concluded in July 2015 by Iran and the so-called EU/3+3 (the European Union, China, France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom), was a landmark nuclear agreement. Commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, it has imposed constraints on Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief and assistance in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Monitoring and verification of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA is a critical part of the agreement. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a multilateral organization based in Vienna, was charged with undertaking the task.
The parties began taking steps to implement the agreement on Adoption Day, October 19, 2015. On May 8, 2018, less than two and a half years later, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the JCPOA and reimpose sanctions on Iran. The future of the agreement is now uncertain. All the other parties have pledged to remain in the accord for now and have been conducting consultations to that end. Meanwhile, the IAEA is carrying on verifying Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA until instructed otherwise by the parties, or by the UN Security Council which endorsed the accord.
The project focuses on the role of the IAEA in monitoring and verification of the JCPOA. The project will produce a major report to be published later in 2018 that traces the verification record from Implementation Day until the U.S. withdrawal. In addition, the project will track how the verification system fares as Iran and other parties to the JCPOA react to the U.S. withdrawal. A critical question will be whether Iran continues to comply with all the obligations imposed on it or whether it will start to derogate from the agreement. Updates will be posted on this website as developments occur. Regardless of whether the Iran agreement survives or not, the project will seek to draw lessons from the verification experience that might be employed to strengthen future similar endeavours.
- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/iran/jcpoa/
- The Iran Nuclear Deal: a Definitive Guide, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, 2017 https://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/files/publication/IranDealGuide2017.pdf
- IAEA Director General Amano responds to Israeli allegations of secret nuclear sites in Tehran [2 October 2018] https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/statement-by-iaea-director-general-yukiya-amano-2-october-2018