Yukiya Amano, the U.N. director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, came back from Tehran optimistic about reaching an agreement to inspect Iran's nuclear program, telling reporters that despite "some differences," he expects a deal "quite soon." But the U.N. talks about accessing Iran's Parchin military complex and interviewing its nuclear scientists comes ahead of a separate meeting in Baghdad between Iran, the U.S., and other world powers, leaving Israel skeptical about the odds of a compromise. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said today that Iran is attempting to "create the impression of progress" to "remove some of the pressure" and "put off the intensification of sanctions."
"Israel believes that Iran should be set a clear bar, so that there is no window or crack" through which the program could continue, Barak said. He added, "It is forbidden to make concessions to Iran," and pushed those countries involved in negotiations to be "clear and unequivocal." American delegate Robert Wood said in a statement that the Obama administration is "concerned by the urgent obligation for Iran to take concrete steps to cooperate fully with the verification efforts of the I.A.E.A., based on I.A.E.A. verification practices."
"We urge Iran to take this opportunity to resolve all outstanding concerns about the nature of its nuclear program. Full and transparent cooperation with the I.A.E.A. is the first logical step," Wood said, throwing the U.N. monitor a little credit.
An anonymous Western official was more frank about Amano's potential deal: "There is skepticism until this is signed and then, once it is signed, there will be skepticism until it is implemented."