Iran has actually done some of the things that French Foriegn Minister Laurent Fabius was demanding when he derailed the agreement on confidence-building at the Geneva conference last weekend, according to the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency.
IAEA head Yukiya Amano was in Tehran on Monday for discussions, which from all accounts went well.
UN inspectors this week visited the Natanz and Fordo gas centrifuge enrichment plants, as well as the Arak heavy water reactor.
They reported that there has been no expansion worth mentioning at either Natanz or Fordo. New, high-capacity centrifuges have not been installed or worked. No new work has been done at Arak.
Fabius had made last-minute demands at Geneva that work stop at Arak and that the new centrifuges be abandoned, but apparently Iran had already taken these steps as part of its own confidence-building measures.
Presumably Iran must have told Secretary of State John Kerry in confidence about these steps, but my guess is that Kerry did not share details with individual UNSC foreign ministries for fear of leaks. Fabius was therefore in the dark that his demands had already been met, at least in part, and was probably angry about not having full information from Kerry.
The diplomats will try again soon, and presumably Iran’s president Hasan Rouhani has encouraged the IAEA to make these findings public as an indirect way of assuaging France. The next time, Fabius should make some discreet inquiries before charging out in public to make allegations and reveal negotiating points.
In any case, the IAEA press release suggests that the next step toward negotiations may go more smoothly than Geneva did.