The Washington Post on Thursday brushed off repeated Iranian assertions that the Islamic republic has an absolute “right” to enrich uranium, matter-of-factly noting that “no ‘right’ to enrich uranium exists in the Non-Proliferation Treaty,” that enrichment is not “needed for a nuclear program,” that “many countries using nuclear power do not enrich their own uranium,” and – quoting a 2005 speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – that a “country that possesses this capability is able to produce nuclear weapons.” The Post tersely evaluated that “Iran’s insistence on enrichment appears meant to preserve a capability for nuclear breakout after sanctions are lifted,” and called on the West to pursue “far greater concessions than the regime appears to be contemplating.” Another article in the Post, this one by Jennifer Rubin, quoted Cliff May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, emphasizing that Iran will only offer further concessions if Congress and the White House move immediately to increase sanctions.
“Congress and the administration should move ahead immediately to ratchet up the sanctions pressure. Doing so may push Iran dangerously close to the economic edge. And that, in turn, might make clear to Iran’s rulers that it will require serious concessions — not smiles and empty rhetoric about ‘trust-building’ — to save their regime.”
The analysis came amid reports that even Iran’s current offer – which already falls short of a half-dozen United Nations Security Council resolutions calling on Tehran to dismantle its nuclear program – has failed to bridge the gaps between the P5+1 and the Islamic republic.
“We learned more about their program and their concerns,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “However, it doesn’t mean we are close to a solution and that we will have an agreement next month.”
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