Home inContext UN Creates Iran Task Force; Too Little, Too Late?

UN Creates Iran Task Force; Too Little, Too Late?

Samara Greenberg

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released an internal document Wednesday acknowledging the creation of a specialized Iran Task Force. The unit, part of the agency’s department charged with ensuring that worldwide nuclear material is not diverted for military purposes, is expected to focus on implementing the IAEA’s agreements with Iran, including monitoring its nuclear sites. It is unusual for the UN agency to create a country-specific unit, highlighting a new urgency being placed on the IAEA’s Iran file.

The new task force, however, has no more power than previous IAEA inspectors in enforcing its nuclear agreements over Tehran. And Iran continues to defy. Most recently, during IAEA-Iran talks on Friday, Iran again refused the IAEA access to its Parchin military complex where satellite images have shown what appears to be an attempt to clean the site of explosive tests possibly related to a nuclear program. Moreover, in satellite images taken of Parchin last week, a pink, tarp-like material can reportedly be seen covering a building linked to the expected experiments — preventing the IAEA from monitoring the site from the sky.

Satellite imagery of Iran’s Parchin military site.

Friday’s IAEA-Iran meeting also concluded without reaching the IAEA’s goals, which include establishing a “structured approach paper”, as well as Iran agreeing to explain its “activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device” and granting the UN access to Iranian documents, nuclear scientists, and sites. Increasing tensions, an upcoming IAEA report is expected to announce that Iran installed 350 new centrifuges in its Fordow facility since May. Fordow, built underground to protect from foreign attack, already houses centrifuges enriching uranium to 20 percent – close to the 90 percent needed for nuclear weapons.

As Iran carries on with its nuclear-related activities, it’s little wonder if the creation of the IAEA’s Iran unit is too little, too late.