Jeffrey LewisParis Negotiations Update 16: Vienna, We Have a Resolution

The IAEA Board of Governors has passed a resolution welcoming the Iran-EU3 accord.

Crucially, and in line with Iranian demands, the resolution described the freeze as a voluntary, confidence-building measure and not a legally binding commitment.

Its passage meant that Tehran, which denies seeking the bomb, had achieved its immediate objective of avoiding being hauled before the Security Council for possible sanctions. [Reuters]

The operative paragraph reads:

[The Board of Governors] requests the Director General to continue verifying that the suspension remains in place and to inform Board members should the suspension not be fully sustained, or should the Agency be prevented from verifying all elements of the suspension, for as long as the suspension is in force;

The wording resolves one of two disputes that had threatend to derail the Iran-EU3 accord.

Iran had objected to draft language directing DG ElBaradei to “monitor the implementation of” the suspension and “report immediately to the Board should the agency encounter evidence that the suspension is not fully implemented, or be prevented from monitoring all elements of the suspension for as long as the suspension is in force.” Washington also objected to the language, arguing for automatic referral to the U.N. Security Counci should Iran not comply.

The second dispute—regarding Iran’s insistance that it be allowed to operate 20 centrifuges for research purposes—disapeared after Iran withdrew the demand.