Monday, April 16, 2012

Iran Ready for Compromise on Higher-Grade Uranium Enrichment

Revival of 2009 Unraveled Agreement on Nuclear Fuel Swap

Signaling Iran’s willingness to make concessions regarding its higher-grade uranium enrichment program, the country’s foreign minister said today that Iran was ready to resolve the issues during the upcoming talks in Baghdad scheduled for 23 May if the West starts lifting its sanctions.

“If the West wants to take confidence-building measures it should start in the field of sanctions because this action can speed up the process of negotiations reaching results,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, the foreign minister. “If there is goodwill, one can pass through this process very easily and we are ready to resolve all issues (concerning higher-grade enrichment) very quickly and simply and even in the Baghdad meeting,” he added [ISNA, 16 April].

"Enrichment is Iran's right but we can negotiate on how we obtain uranium with different enrichment levels," Salehi said during an interview with ISNA. "Making 20 percent fuel is our right as long as it provides for our reactor needs and there is no question about that, but if they guarantee that they will provide us with the (enriched fuel) that we need, then that would be another matter.”

In 2009, the P5+1 and Iranian negotiators tentatively agreed on a deal whereby Iran swaps most of its inventory of lower-enriched fuel for the 20-percent fuel made in the West. The agreement unraveled when the conservative politicians in Iran strongly opposed it. Salehi’s comments today signal a new willingness by Iran to forge a similar deal in Baghdad.


Anonymous said...

Tehran Times wrote exactly the opposite.

Dariush London

Mark Pyruz said...

First of all, the previous offer of an LEU transfer bogged down when insufficient guarantees were provided for a fuel swap and no provision for recognition of Iran's right to enrichment were provided. It was a "take it of leave it offer" which the Iranians attempted to negotiate further but were denied by the West, and not a formal rejection by "Iranian conservatives."

The Iranians have been saying pretty much all along the 20% enrichment was negotiable, given fuel provided for TRR and a future reactor. Ahmadinejad voiced this offer again just a couple of months ago.

So any potential movement on the issue still resolves around the West recognizing Iran's right to the nuclear fuel cycle (as a NPT signatory) and the Iranians possibly allowing more intrusive inspections (as it did previously but got nothing in return).

The narrative of a flat out rejection by conservative politicians in Iran is wrong and seeks to shoulder the impasse squarely on Iran is purposely misleading. The evidence is in the the about-face U.S. rejection of the 2010 Tehran Declaration.

Nader Uskowi said...

The conservative politicians in Iran flat out rejected the tentative agreement on fuel swap reached in 2009 (probably because it was first proposed and negotiated by Ahmadinejad’s team). And the rejection was as “formal” as it could get, coming publicly from senior folks like Larijani. Could the West have offered more after their rejection of the preliminary agreement? I am sure they could and they should have. And as you have said here, Ahmadinejad voiced his offer again a couple of months ago. I believe this is a great development. Iran needs to compromise at some level to get the sanctions eased and then taken out altogether. Nothing wrong with a compromise to forego the production of the 20-percent fuel beyond their needs, and Ahmadinejad’s foreign minister was signaling exactly that in his interview with ISNA today.

Anonymous said...

Baba this regime is hanging on to straw and knows if it goes one step back it's a goner.
Don't even bother thinking to hard because they are so boringly predictable,just like their lame supporters.

Anonymous said...

All this huha over Irans nuclear issues or Human rights or whatever concerns Iran and its political agenda migh be having.

Magnifying the slightest of words and deeds into a monstrosity by the press as well as western politicians.

All is to divert attention from the real injustices a.o. the settelment policies of Israel. The mismanagments of financial institutes and etc etc.

Keeping the World on their toes on some "look at the bird over there" trick is as old as the crucifixtion and works for all idiots of the world through all generations over and over.

Dariush London

Anonymous said...

Dariush why should Iranians give a damn about Israel?
You people always bring Israel forward soon as Iranians mention the barbarity of the Islamic theocracy.Iranians have become second class citizens in their own country because of the pro Palestinian regime that resides in Tehran.The fact is the Palestinians don't give a damn about Iran except as a cash cow for their own terrorist activities.
As for mismanagement look no further than the Islamic theocracy itself.