The stakes loom large as six world powers meet in Baghdad today to agree on curbing Iran's nuclear program. By many accounts, Iran's willingness to bend to Western demands could determine whether Israel or the U.S. launch a pre-emptive airstrike on the country's nuclear facilities in the coming months. Here are the key bargaining points.
Access to Parchin. A small military site 18 miles outside of Tehran contains the most talked-about facility for non-proliferation experts. It allegedly contains a "large cylindrical object" where explosive tests were carried out in 2003. But Iran has refused to give the International Atomic Energy Agency access to it. Now, that could all change. On Tuesday, the U.N. nuclear agency said Tehran will allow access to Parchin, "despite some remaining differences." What those differences are could be key to satisfying critics of Iran's nuclear program. One would think that a tour of the facility pictured above, which the U.N. says it wants to inspect, would have to be included in the deal. But as State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday, there are multiple compliance factors. "Obviously, the announcement of the deal is one thing, but the implementation is what we're going to be looking for," she told reporters, "for Iran to truly follow through and provide the access to all of the locations, the documents, and the personnel that the IAEA requires in order to determine whether Iran's program is exclusively for peaceful purposes." While Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Iran is merely giving "the impression of progress," the IAEA seems optimistic that the country is making earnest concessions.