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Democratic Senator: White House Funding Not Adequate for IAEA’s Iran Inspections

The White House’s proposed 2017 budget does not include enough money for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to support its inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Wednesday.

The budget calls for nearly $191 million for the nuclear watchdog, a $5 million increase over the previous year, but less than the $10.6 million increase that the IAEA requested. The United States is the primary financial backer of the IAEA.

“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am committed to doing everything I can to increase funding for the IAEA during the Appropriations process,” Coons said in a statement. “However, this goal is made considerably more difficult by the administration’s low baseline request.”

While Coons, who is also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, voted to support the nuclear deal with Iran, he has consistently called for the United States to keep pressure on Tehran to make sure it abides by the deal. Coons emphasized in his statement that “adequate, long-term funding” was needed to ensure that the IAEA could properly monitor Iran under the terms of the nuclear deal.

While the nuclear deal was being debated in Congress last August, State Department spokesman John Kirby called on all IAEA member states to provide the agency with the necessary funding to ensure Iran’s compliance with the terms of the deal:

We’re going to contribute – continue to contribute to the IAEA and their funding needs specifically as it relates to this deal. And it’s not just us; we want other member states to do it as well.

[Photo: U.S. Senator Chris Coons / YouTube ]