Menendez, Kirk: New GAO Study Warns Inspectors Face Challenges in Detecting Iran’s Undeclared Nuclear Activities

Menendez, Kirk: New GAO Study Warns Inspectors Face Challenges in Detecting Iran’s Undeclared Nuclear Activities

Government Accountability Office Says Iran Deal Poses Serious Inspection Obstacles for Global Nuclear Watchdog

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Mark Kirk commented on today’s release of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) final report on challenges faced by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in verifying the Iran nuclear deal, known also as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCOPA). Senators Kirk and Menendez initially requested the GAO to conduct this study in June 2015.

“This comprehensive report, which the GAO team spent the last year investigating and compiling, points directly to real vulnerabilities in the IAEA’s capacity to monitor and verify Iran’s adherence to restrictions on its nuclear program set by the JCPOA,” Sen. Menendez said.  “Put simply, it says to me that we are putting our national security interests in the hands of a multilateral organization that is operating with one hand tied behind its back, struggling under the weight of its current requirements.   The IAEA is not an intelligence agency and detecting undeclared nuclear activity is not its core competency.  It lacks the budget, expert capacity, equipment and full authorities required to undertake the kind of rigorous activities required to fulfill its critical mission.  Congress needs to fully fund the IAEA's new requirements and the United States needs to take strong steps like I have proposed in my legislation introduced today to return the United States to the business of deterrence.”

“We now have proof from the U.S. government’s independent watchdog that Iran, under the dangerously flawed nuclear deal, is set to get even more massive sanctions relief by October 2023 regardless of whether or not it comes clean about its nuclear weapons program to the IAEA’s inspectors,” Sen. Kirk said.  “The American people should be alarmed that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action allows Iran to keep vast nuclear capabilities without subjecting them to real anytime-anywhere inspections, paving the way for the world’s biggest terror-sponsoring regime to eventually get nuclear weapons.”

The text of the GAO interim report is now available online.