After Baghdad – What Next?

That the two-day meeting of E3+3 with an Iranian delegation in Baghdad over the latter’s nuclear program has de facto been adjourned to be continued in Moscow on June 18 is probably the only outcome which may prevent the whole endeavor of being a complete failure. Sanctions were not to be removed off the table (or even softened), but why should Iran then give in stopping further enriching uranium?

In an uncommon move the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano was sent had arrived just hours before the Baghdad meeting in Tehran to negotiate a deal which would IAEA inspectors grant an easier access to suspicious facilities, most probably including that at Parchin which had been identified of having been the place of experiments with high-explosives a decade ago. Iran had signaled cooperation and willingness to sign a respective agreement (just an additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Iran is a signatory of since 1968). What else could be expected? Iran had done so already in 2003 (but never ratified it by its parliament) and only abandoned it in 2006 when facing several rounds of UNSC sanctions.

The upcoming report by Amano might shed light on what has actually been agreed upon and when Parchin and the respective building allegedly containing the high-explosive test chamber, which might have been cleansed in the meantime, can be visited. What IAEA inspectors are so keen to see there is, after all, unclear. ArmsControlWonk’s Jeffrey Lewis had yesterday debunked the hype in the West about the building which might have been the site of, illicit or not, experiments in the early 2000s. High-explosive test chambers just look different than the ominous computer-generated drawing which has been circulating for some time now and which only reminds us of similar disingenuous attempts by W. G. Bush’s Secretary of State Colin Powell when he tried to convince the public about the immediate threat of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction nine years ago.

The likelihood that a highly desired agreement between the IAEA and Iran is actually signed within the next coming days is, after next-to-nothing results of the Baghdad meeting, pretty small.

Last modified May 25, 2012.

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