Very shortly, the United States government will make decisions about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that may have immediate and profound implications for Iran and the U.S; for the future of the Middle East; and for global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear arms.

The JCPOA ultimately rests upon the authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify that all of Iran’s nuclear activities are declared and peaceful. Without the agreement, IAEA verification would be far more difficult. This should dissuade President Trump and the Congress from taking reckless actions that could curtail the IAEA’s fact-finding, preempt American credibility in dealing with Iran in the future, and terminate enhanced oversight in a country that could respond by ramping up its nuclear program to a crisis level.

The unending polarized debate in the U.S. about the JCPOA has allowed both defenders and detractors to misrepresent the facts concerning the implementation of the accord. In their zeal to burnish the JCPOA, advocates assert that the IAEA has concluded that Iran is complying with the agreement. That’s overstated, as are woefully gratuitous claims by declared opponents of the JCPOA that Iran is hiding current non-compliance because the Obama Administration “gave away any right to conduct meaningful inspections in Iran.”

This article was originally published in Arms Control Wonk.

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