I have heard it claimed (in personal conversations) that when the IAEA wishes to make an inspection/visit to an Iranian nuclear facility, it is required to announce its visit a good number of days in advance.

Is that ever the case at all? If so, is it typically the case? And - is it anchored in provisions of the JCPOA or just a rapport which developed somehow?

Note: In your answer, please make it clear whether you're describing the period while the JCPOA was fully in effect and the last couple of years after Trump pulled out of the agreement and Iran started reducing its commitment in reciprocation.


At the moment, no. As part of the 2015 JCPOA the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did conduct inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities, including unannounced snap inspections. Since Trump pulled out of the agreement and reimposed sanctions Iran has been moving away from the conditions of the agreement.

As part of that, in February Iran came to an agreement with the IAEA to continue inspections, but under more restrictions than previously. As part of this, the Additional Protocol that allowed the IAEA to carry out snap inspections was suspended.

  • Ok... core agreement vs additional protocol. Awesome. Do you know whether the current talks involve a reinstatement of the additional protocol as well?
    – einpoklum
    May 5 at 9:29
  • I suspect no one outside of the room knows what they are talking about. The public statements have been about imposing additional restrictions, not less, so I would guess they do.
    – Dave
    May 5 at 9:34
  • @einpoklum I believe the legal framework is slightly more complicated than just the JCPOA and an additional protocol, there's also the Iran's comprehensive safeguards agreement to the treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (which is what the additional protocol to, and which the Iran deal is meant to enforce). iaea.org/publications/documents/infcircs/…
    – origimbo
    May 5 at 14:25
  • @origimbo: 1. Well, AFAICT no other NPT state has the IAEA conduct surprise inspections anywhere... do they? 2. The 2016 protocol at the link says the IAEA will give advanced notice in writing.
    – einpoklum
    May 5 at 15:47
  • It seems that they have conducted them in the US in 1965 and Iraq in the 90's. Germany and Japan have blocked them.
    – Dave
    May 5 at 15:54

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