The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy while prohibiting its use for military purposes, such as nuclear weapons. The IAEA is tasked with safeguarding the principles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970 as the UN’s primary nuclear watchdog.
It was founded on July 29, 1957, at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, as an autonomous organization. The agency reports to both the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council, despite being founded independently of the UN under its international treaty.
|Functions of the IAEA||The IAEA’s functions are detailed below.|
Promoting and aiding research, development, and practical applications of nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes.
Creating and enforcing safety measures to ensure that the IAEA’s research, development, and other activities are not utilized for military objectives.
Applying required comprehensive safeguards in non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWS) parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other international treaties. The three main areas of work of the IAEA are:
1. Safety & security
2. Science & technology
3. Safeguards & verification
|Safeguards of IAEA||Safeguards are actions that the IAEA uses to ensure that a country is adhering to its international commitments not to use nuclear programs for weapons development. |
Safeguards are based on examinations of a state’s declared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities for accuracy and completeness.
On-site inspections, visits, and continual monitoring and evaluation are all examples of verification measures.
In general, two sets of measures are implemented depending on the type of safeguards agreement in place with a State.
The first set concerns the verification of state reports on declared nuclear material and operations.
Another set permits the IAEA to provide assurances on the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State, in addition to verifying the non-diversion of declared nuclear material.
|Governance of the IAEA||There are two policymaking bodies at the IAEA. They are as follows: |
1. General Conference
2. Board of Governors
|General Conference||It is made up of all of the IAEA’s member countries. |
It meets once a year in a regular session.
The yearly general meeting is generally held in September month.
The IAEA’s 64th General Conference was held in Vienna from September 21st to September 25th, 2020.
|Board of Governors||There are 35 members in this organization. |
The Board meets 5 times a year on average.
It evaluates the IAEA’s program, financial statements, and budget and provides recommendations to the General Conference.
The Board reviews membership applications approve safeguards agreements and publish the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safety standards.
With the permission of the General Conference, it also appoints the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The members of the board for 2019-20 are: – Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Mongolia, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Uruguay.
|Secretariat||The IAEA also maintains a Secretariat, which is made up of professional and general service personnel. The Director-General is in charge of it.|
The concerns between Iran and the United States appear to fall outside of the IAEA’s authority. Iran also wants assurances that if the deal is activated, it would not be abandoned by an American president in the future, as Trump did in 2018. The toughest task for all parties will be tying up all the loose ends of this complex negotiation.
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