By Jonathan Tirone
President Donald Trump’s envoy to the United Nations met with the nuclear inspectors charged with verifying a deal between Iran and world powers to convey the White House’s concerns.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley met International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano on Wednesday over the July 2015 agreement that rolled back Iranian nuclear capabilities in exchange for sanctions relief. Haley entered IAEA headquarters in Vienna at about 1:30 p.m. local time without comment.
IAEA inspectors use site visits, remote monitoring and satellite imagery to verify that Iran stays withing nuclear production and capacity limits agreed with diplomats from China, the European Union, Russia and the U.S. They’ve produced seven reports since January 2016 showing Iran to be in broad compliance with the accord, called the JCPOA.
Haley “discussed U.S. concerns about ensuring Iran strictly adheres to its obligations, noting that IAEA reports can only be as good as the access Iran grants to any facility the IAEA suspects of having a nuclear role,” according to a State Department email.
The White House isn’t looking for a pretext to unwind the agreement and wants more information, Haley told the Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday. Iran shouldn’t be allowed to use the nuclear agreement to “hold the world hostage,” she said in a statement last week.
“Transparency measures contained in the JCPOA strengthen the verification regime in Iran,” Amano said earlier this year. “The JCPOA is a clear and substantive gain for nuclear verification in Iran.”
For Haley and the White House, those gains under the deal haven’t been as clear. Iran’s continued testing of missiles and support for designated terrorist groups in the Middle East have been conflated with the nuclear issue, causing Trump to revisit U.S. policy.
“I don’t think Iran is in compliance” but “we have time,” Trump said on Aug. 10, adding that Tehran’s government definitely isn’t living up to the spirit of the accord.