Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Proliferation Alert! The IAEA and Non-Compliance Reporting

| Oct. 20, 2015

In this new report from the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom, Trevor Findlay provides the first comprehensive study of the International Atomic Energy Agency's handling of states that are not complying with their non-proliferation obligations.

The report finds that none of the cases—which include North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Syria, among others—have followed the non-compliance process outlined in the Agency's Statute and safeguards agreements. Rather, each case has posed unique challenges to the non-proliferation regime. The report concludes that creativity and deft statecraft rather than a rigid, formulaic approach are key to the handling of complex non-compliance cases.

In addition to flexibility, the report emphasizes the importance of protecting the impartiality and enhancing the technical capabilities of the Agency's Secretariat and the need for the Board of Governors to assume full responsibility for making non-compliance judgments. It also calls for greater transparency from the Agency and its member states about compliance with safeguards.

The international community would do well to heed the lessons of past cases in dealing with any potential or actual Iranian non-compliance, while Iran should draw the lesson that proactive cooperation and transparency will smooth the compliance path considerably.

For more information on this publication: Please contact Managing the Atom
For Academic Citation: Findlay, Trevor. “Proliferation Alert! The IAEA and Non-Compliance Reporting.” Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center, October 20, 2015.