A Resolution of the PMD Issue?Posted: April 23, 2014 Filed under: Nuclear 2 Comments
Could this report, being prepared by Iran, constitute the beginning of the resolution of the PMD issue regarding Iran’s nuclear program? As this piece reports:
Iran said on Monday it was drafting a comprehensive account of its nuclear activities, but did not indicate whether this would be made available to help the final diplomatic push to resolve a decade-old dispute with the West over the program.
The move could meet Western demands for greater transparency to address concerns that Iran may have been trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability, but Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy agency, made no mention of this.
“There are various files on our atomic program, but we’re lacking a comprehensive document, which we are writing now,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Kamalvandi as saying.
Could the motivation for compiling this report be to then present it to the IAEA, in order to constitute Iran’s formal answer to the IAEA’s queries about past possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program? As I’ve noted before, there seems to be a welcome air of pragmatism in some circles about de-emphasizing the PMD issue, and facilitating its resolution, as part of a comprehensive deal between Iran and the P5+1/IAEA.
The production of this report by Iran may be the first coordinated movement in that kabuki play, after which the IAEA and the West will, after some respectable time spent reviewing it, and possibly in concert with an additional coordinated inspection or two inside Iran, possibly at Parchin, declare that the report by Iran satisfactorily answers the IAEA questions. This then would be an extremely important step towards both sides being able to move past the PMD issue while saving face. The IAEA and UNSC demanded answers. Iran gave the answers. There was in the end no military dimension determined. Case closed.
Along with a resolution of the other facets of the negotiations – e.g. importantly the recent progress being made on the Arak issue – this could pave the way for the UNSC to pass a new resolution supplanting its prior resolutions and lifting its order that Iran cease uranium enrichment, and further and most importantly, lifting its sanctions on Iran.
I just posted an analysis on this very same issue over at the Belfer Center Iran Matters blog.
Great piece, Jofi. Some very useful thoughts on practical implications. I particularly like your comments here:
“What matters most to the international community is developing the confidence that any significant activities Iran may have engaged in the past have now completely halted and that Iran has provided a sufficient level of transparency on its historical activities to help ensure that any future efforts to restart weaponization activities or programs would be detected in a timely fashion. If, after the fact, we learn that Iran failed to disclose an academic study conducted fifteen years ago that could theoretically provide support to a weaponization program, we shouldn’t immediately declare that an Iranian violation. Context matters here.”
I hope people in influence get this message.