Iran's Sham Pledge to the IAEA

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The mainstream media reported that the UN's nuclear monitoring agency had achieved a "breakthrough" with Iran that will allow for continued monitoring of its nuclear program.

But in fact, very little was achieved.

For the last few years, the IAEA had required Iran to allow the agency to monitor its nuclear sites with cameras. But in the leadup to new negotiations over the 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, Iran stopped providing that data. That led to the fear that Iran was conducting undisclosed nuclear work.

Over a weekend visit, the IAEA's director secured a deal that will allow it to service its own monitoring equipment. But, according to the New York Times:

as agreed in a similar emergency deal last February, the contents of the storage cards are kept under seal and will be released to the agency only when and if Iran and the United States agree on a revival of the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

In other words, Iran still controls the information captured on the cameras and will only release it if and when it achieves its goals at nuclear talks. So, for the time being, the IAEA is blind to Iran's nuclear work. Not much of a breakthrough at all.

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