Iran's Arak heavy water reactor 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The nuclear agreement signed with Iran provides for a major increase in the
monitoring capabilities for the UN nuclear watchdog, allowing inspectors to
conduct daily visits and unannounced inspections at the Islamic Republic’s most
sensitive nuclear sites, according to nuclear proliferation
“Verification is extremely important and perhaps the most
important gain achieved” in the negotiations, said Hebrew University of
Jerusalem Prof. Shlomo Aronson, who studies nuclear proliferation in the Middle
The access granted to the International Atomic Energy Agency will
give an immediate indication about the seriousness with which Tehran takes the
agreement, Aronson said.
“The actual implementation of this clause of the
agreement depends on the next report that we should receive from Vienna from the
IAEA, and they have their own, let’s say, experience with Iran cheating,”
Because of those provisions, Iran will have a hard time
concealing its activities at established nuclear facilities, said Meir Litvak,
the director of the Alliance Center for Iranian studies at Tel Aviv
But, he said, “if they have someplace [else] that the world
doesn’t know about, that’s a different story.”
Iran’s previous efforts to
conceal elements of its nuclear program make the IAEA part of the agreement all
the more critical. In the agreement, inspectors are granted daily access to the
Natanz and Fordow facilities.
Iran agreed to provide detailed information
about the design of the Arak heavy water reactor, which observers fear could be
used to develop plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.
“The kinds of
information that the deal requires Iran to provide the IAEA... is a level of the
information which the Iranians, since 2008, have not been willing to provide.
The repeated requests by the IAEA to get this information, to allow the IAEA to
comprehend the program... were rejected by Iran,” said Mark Hibbs, a senior
associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Nuclear Policy
“The biggest question mark for me in this entire deal is whether
the Iranians will be able to deliver on their commitment to the IAEA,” he
The two other main aspects on the Iran side regard limits on the
enrichment of uranium and a freeze on construction at the Arak
The stoppage at the Arak site is a victory from the Israeli
point of view, said Uzi Even, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University, who was
involved in Israel’s nuclear research.
“That puts on hold what I consider
the major threat to Israel,” he said, observing that plutonium from an active
Arak facility could be more quickly installed into a missile, than a uranium
On the other hand, Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Saban
Center for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution in Washington, said
the Arak freeze is “not insignificant, but I think it perhaps took on outsize
She said she doubted Iran could have finished construction
on its own.