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Is IAEA capable of monitoring Iran nuclear program?

Technological advances and lessons learned from previous clandestine nuclear programs provide confidence that Iran cannot violate the terms of a new nuclear agreement.
A scientist works at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) environmental sample laboratory in Seibersdorf April 24, 2013. The self-styled "Sherlock Holmeses" of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, now seeking access to a major Iranian base, say they have the capability to find tiny traces of atomic material at a site even if a country were to try to cover it up. Picture taken April 24, 2013. TO GO WITH STORY NUCLEAR-IAEA/LABORATORY  REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader  (AUSTRIA - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY SCIENCE TECHNOLO

A key question in the aftermath of a new nuclear agreement with Iran is whether the international community has the wherewithal to monitor and verify Iran’s compliance. Officials in the Barack Obama administration and nonproliferation experts claim that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), bolstered by new technology and the intelligence resources of major powers, can provide the necessary assurances that Iran is abiding by restrictions on its nuclear capabilities and not trying to divert its declared program or build a covert facility to develop weapons.

“It’s not your grandfather’s IAEA,” said Thomas Shea, a veteran former official at the UN nuclear watchdog agency, to an audience at the Atlantic Council July 15. An expert for a quarter century in the IAEA’s Department of Safeguards, which monitors declared nuclear programs, Shea said that the agency had overhauled its practices in light of its failure to find nuclear weapons progress in Iraq and North Korea more than two decades ago and now has access to “100 different verification systems” that can detect even the smallest anomalies.

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