Nuclear watchdog says it needs more money to inspect Iran sites
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Nuclear watchdog says it needs more money to inspect Iran sites

IAEA head calls for further funding from member states to cover €800,000 monthly cost of monitoring facilities

Yukia Amano, director-general of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, speaks at the Brookings Institute. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Yukia Amano, director-general of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, speaks at the Brookings Institute. (Screen capture: YouTube)

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday it has “immediate funding needs” that need to be filled through extra-budgetary contributions in order to carry out inspections of Iranian nuclear sites as part of the agreement reached with Tehran last month.

IAEA head Yukiya Amano wrote in a letter to chairperson Marta Ziakova that the agency was short nearly $1 million a month to carry out oversight work of Iranian facilities, which is needed as part of an agreement reached last month between world powers and Tehran.

The letter said that the inspections it currently carries out under the existing Joint Plan of Action, which was agreed on in November 2103, cost €800,000 ($924,000) per month, and that it would need an additional €160,000 ($184,800) per month prior to beginning the inspections agreed to in the July 14, 2015, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Previously received contributions will run out at the end of September, the letter noted.

“The Agency has immediate funding needs related to the continuing costs of implementing monitoring and verification under the existing Joint Plan of Action,” Amano wrote in the letter sent as an introductory statement to the IAEA Board of Governors meeting. “The extra-budgetary contributions which we have previously received for this purpose will be exhausted by the end of September.”

Amano thanked member states who had made financial contributions to the IAEA in the past and called on them to renew their commitment.

Tuesday’s meeting is designed to ask the IAEA’s 35-member board to approve both the agency’s monitoring role and to ask for the funds needed to carry out that activity.

Enough countries are expected to contribute to meet the IAEA request.

A diplomat from a board member country said Monday that the United States, France, Britain and Germany — the four Western powers among the six that negotiated the Iran deal — already have committed to meeting at least some of the costs, along with others, including Japan, Finland, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand. He demanded anonymity because he is not allowed to discuss confidential information.

Russia and China, the other two nations at the table in the talks with Iran, also are expected to shoulder part of the extra expenditures.

In the letter Amano also reassured Ziakova that the watchdog had extensive experience in implementing safety inspections, including “top-class technical experts, high-tech equipment and state-of-the art analytical laboratories.”

“There is now a historic opportunity to resolve the Iran nuclear issue. I hope that full use will be made of this opportunity,” Amano said.

According to a confidential document obtained by The Associated Press and published Monday, the IAEA believes compliance work will cost about $10.47 million each year, with the final tab amounting to $157 million over the life of the pact.

The document says the costs are calculated from the time the terms of the deal start to be implemented. That will be some time after it is adopted October 18.

The IAEA document extrapolates the total cost of monitoring the deal — €138 million ($157 million) — by saying the estimated annual costs of €9.2 million ($10.47 million) “are foreseen as being applicable for 15 years.”

That is the planned duration of the deal signed by Iran and six world powers aimed at crimping activities Tehran could use to make a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief.

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