The good news: In what the New York Times describes as an "apparent breakthrough," the UN's nuclear chief today announced that Iran has decided to sign a "structured agreement" that would establish how IAEA inspectors would conduct a restarted probe into the military potential of the country's nuclear program. The news comes ahead of tomorrow's planned talks between Iran and six world powers, though CBS News—which flavors its report with a heavy dose of skepticism—reports that the deal won't likely affect the negotiators coming to the table, as the IAEA deal and talks are separate.
But it could affect Iran's negotiators, who could argue that it compromised, and it's time for the West to do so, too. Western diplomats have expressed doubts about the deal, noting that nuke chief Yukiya Amano should have come back with a complete and signed deal, but may have fallen short due to the mounting pressure to arrive at an agreement. Amano himself acknowledged that "there remain some differences" in his discussions with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, but claims they won't be an obstacle to getting the agreement signed, which will happen "quite soon, but I cannot say how soon it will be." (Read more IAEA stories.)