The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the UN inspectors visiting Iran for a second time; the "Friends of Syria" meeting in Tunis; and the convening of G20 foreign ministers in Mexico.
- The signals coming out of Iran are mixed. Tehran’s boasts about landmark nuclear advances are tempered with a willingness to let visiting International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors return and offers to re-enter negotiations. These conflicting signals have experts debating whether they reflect a conscious effort to intimidate and buy time, or are evidence that the Iranian government is at odds with itself.
- The upcoming "Friends of Syria" meeting in Tunis is not likely to have much impact on events on the ground in Syria, where the death toll now exceeds 7,000. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad called this week for a referendum on a new constitution, a move that protesters might have hailed had it been made last summer. Now it looks like the outcome in Syria will be decided by the bullet, not the ballot.
- The meeting of the G20 foreign ministers will focus on how the G20 can address issues such as green growth, sustainable development, and global responses for human development. None of these topics are ones that foreign ministries typically have much expertise in or say over.
- Bob’s Figure of the Week is 100. My Figure of the Week is Rick Santorum. As always, you have to listen to the podcast to find out why.
Reuters tracks a meeting between IAEA chief Yukiya Amano with the Iranian embassy in Vienna, and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria compares the current conflict between Israel and Iran to the Cold War. Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch describes France and Turkey’s push to help Syria, and Bloomberg argues that the UN Security Council vote on Syria reveals that the UN may have "more gum than teeth." CFR’s Stewart Patrick previews the G20 meeting’s priorities, and the State Department outlines what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hopes to accomplish while in Mexico.