A key part of the P5+1 agreement is that Iran has to "fess up" to the U.N. inspectors about their previous nuclear activity. The reason for the historical inquiry isn't to find out whether or not Iran had a nuclear weapon's program so they could be reprimanded for being bad children. By understanding the Iranian nuclear program before the agreement, the IAEA will know how, when, and where to inspect their program in the future. As Michael Singh of the Washington Institute said
It's important in so far as, number one, we need to establish a baseline for the inspectors. Without Iran coming clean on what it's done in the past, the inspectors don't have a baseline of what has Iran done, how far did they get in their weaponization research, how many centrifuges did they produce and where did they produce them? Where are Iran's R&D facilities and how many of them are there? Who is involved in those efforts?Rather than answering the question of if Iran had a program, the IAEA needs to know how Iran pursued a nuclear weapon and how much knowledge and material they accumulated in that pursuit so they can amongst establish a reliable breakout time, which according to the administration is behind how the deal was crafted and how it will be evaluated.
Administration spokespeople spent the last two plus years assuring lawmakers and the public that uncertainties related to Iran's past military-related nuclear work - the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran's nuclear program, would have to be resolved in any deal. Supposedly Iran agreed to cooperate with the IAEA investigation of their past activities but according to the Wall Street Journal, maybe they haven't because they are not allowing the IAEA to interview their nuclear scientists or military personnel involved with their weapons program.
This was one issue the Obama negotiating team really needed to stand firm. They caved on all the conditions that would have physically precluded the Iranians from cheating: dismantling centrifuges, shuttering facilities, and so on. All they had left was the claim that verification would catch the Iranians as they cheat, and as explained above, resolving PMDs is a prerequisite to a robust verification regime.
Obama administration officials were adamant they'd get the access the IAEA needed. In December 2013, Wendy Sherman the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Department of State testified before the Senate Banking Committee and said "the comprehensive agreement [will] address... their possible military dimensions. In February 2014, she told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, "we have required that Iran come clean on its past actions as part of any comprehensive agreement." Even the Secretary of State John Kerry himself said this past April, "They have to do it. It will be done. If there's going to be a deal; it will be done."
The WSJ revealed on July 26 that the administration had given up on forcing to provide the necessary information/documents detailing their past weaponization work. And then there was the shocking revelation from the Associated Press that instead of the IAEA getting access to sites like Parchin, where they conducted experiments relevant to warhead detonations, the Iranians would be allowed to take their own samples and hand them over. To make matters worse we have learned that satellite data proves the rogue regime is working to cover up their activity at the Parchin facility.
Now the Wall Street Journal confirms that their inspectors aren't getting access to the people they need to interview either. IAEA director-general Amano is now hoping that maybe the Iranians will give the agency access to other people who might be able to clarify their concerns some other way.
Iran so far has refused to allow United Nations inspectors to interview key scientists and military officers to investigate allegations that Tehran maintained a covert nuclear-weapons program, the head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog said in an interview Wednesday... Mr. Amano said Tehran still hasn't agreed to let Mr. Fakhrizadeh or other Iranian military officers and nuclear scientists help the IAEA complete its investigation. The Japanese diplomat indicated that he believed his agency could complete its probe even without access to top-level Iranian personnel.This means that unless they get their hands on fairy dust and recruit Tinkerbell, the IAEA will not be able to understand where Iran's nuclear program has been a prerequisite to a what the Administration has described as a robust verification regime. With no access to information/ documents, no access to sites, and no access to people, the Obama guarantee of a verification system proving that Iran is following the P5+1 deal is destined for never, never land.
"We don't know yet," Mr. Amano said about the agency's interview requests... Amano said Iran still hasn't agreed to provide access to Mr. Fakhrizadeh or other top Iranian military officers and nuclear scientists to assist the IAEA in completing its probe.