Diplomacy

Iran Denies Willingness to Make Nuclear Concession, Nixes Possibility of “Fresh Proposal”

Iranian media is flatly denying the details of a Der Spiegel report published yesterday describing Iranian president Hassan Rouhani as ready to decommission the country’s uranium enrichment facility at Fordo in exchange for the West easing economic sanctions.

Fordo is an underground military bunker that Iran has converted for enrichment purposes. Not only did Iran’s ISNA news agency indicate that it would not be closed, but per the Tehran Times:

According to the source, Iran would not come up with any fresh proposal to the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) in New York and it would await the other side’s offers.

Analysts and diplomats had already expressed skepticism regarding the offer. Robert Einhorn, who until recently was the State Department’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, cast doubt on Tehran’s willingness to actually shutter the facility. Einhorn is not the only one with doubts:

Even if Iran did close Fordo, the country’s stockpile of low- and medium-enriched uranium and the 18,000 centrifuges installed at another enrichment plant near Natanz would allow it to make highly enriched fuel for nuclear weapons, said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.

Yuval Steinitz – Israel’s Minister of Intelligence, International Relations, and Strategic Affairs – explained to Israeli Army Radio that “most of the centrifuges are not there; without Fordo they might be able to produce six, not seven, nuclear bombs.”

[Photo: Nima1024 / Wiki Commons]