Over time, states have endeavored to improve the effectiveness of the international nonproliferation regime. These efforts have included the adoption by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the Model Additional Protocol to comprehensive safeguards agreements, the tightening by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) of export criteria on sensitive nuclear fuel-cycle technology, and the adoption of UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1887.
One of the main outstanding loopholes that deserves prompt attention is the absence of a requirement for irreversible IAEA safeguards to remain in force should a state leave the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Today, if Iran or any other NPT non-nuclearweapon state withdraws from the treaty, its comprehensive IAEA safeguards automatically lapse under the terms of that agreement.
Under Article X.1 of the treaty, an NPT party has the right to withdraw, with three months’ notice, “if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of [the NPT], have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country.” The model comprehensive safeguards agreement, which NPT nonnuclear- weapon states are required to adopt, contains no reference to safeguards implications after a state’s withdrawal from the NPT.