The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported today that an agreement on nuclear inspections might be in the works with the Iranian regime–or, more precisely, that a “decision” had been made to reach an agreement. The White House welcomed the move–cautiously–while the Israeli government warned of Iranian deception, suggesting that Tehran would use any means necessary to stall for time and forestall any military action.
News reports suggested that the details of a potential deal had yet to be worked out:
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said upon returning from Tehran that he and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator made a “decision” to reach an agreement on the UN watchdog probing suspected weapons activities.
But contrary to the hopes of some diplomats before he left on Sunday, Amano failed to actually sign a deal, saying at a Vienna airport that this would happen “quite soon” because of remaining, unspecified “differences.”
The Obama administration seemed to take discussions of an agreement seriously, while insisting on Iranian compliance with whatever the terms would be:
“It’s important to note that the announcement today is a step forward,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, calling the planned agreement “certainly significant.”
However, he added: “We will make judgments about Iran’s behavior based on actions.”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also stressed that “the announcement of the deal is one thing, but the implementation is what we’re going to be looking for” ahead of talks Wednesday in Baghdad between Iran and six world powers including the United States.
Meanwhile, Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak cast doubt on the proto-agreement, according to the Jerusalem Post:
Iran is fooling the West in its apparent readiness to reach a deal on its nuclear program, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned on Tuesday.
“The Iranians appear to be trying to reach a technical deal that will create an appearance as if there is progress in the talks to remove some of the pressure ahead of the talks in Baghdad and to postpone an escalation in sanctions,” Barak said during a meeting at the Defense Ministry.
Israel has insisted on a complete halt to Iran’s uranium enrichment program, in compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions; the Obama administration has shown willingness to break with the UN and craft a separate deal in the hope of avoiding armed conflict with the Tehran regime.