After the powers and Iran in late 2013 concluded the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), I cautioned that, a year later, when everything else is supposed to be settled, the toughest nut to crack might be what to do about Iran’s nuclear past. Happy talkers who didn’t like that message marginalized it for months. But right now, questions raised by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano about what he calls “possible military dimensions” (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program are standing tall between the negotiators and a comprehensive settlement of the crisis.
While the powers and Iran were negotiating the JPA, they and Iran set up a Framework for Cooperation on a parallel track which committed the IAEA and Iran to resolve PMD issues. That began with confidence-building steps which were supposed to coax Iran to give the IAEA enough data for it to tell its Board of Governors and the U.N. Security Council that things with Iran were working out.