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U.S. National Security Adviser: Deal With Iran Will Prohibit Uranium Enrichment

Details are beginning to emerge about what the U.S. would minimally demand from Iran in the context of a deal over the country’s nuclear program. National Security Adviser Susan Rice explained on Sunday that Iran would, for example, not be permitted to continue enriching uranium under any potential deal with the West:

The White House national security adviser and former ambassador to the UN said the US wouldn’t agree to let Iran enrich its own uranium. She said US President Barack Obama made clear that Washington accepted Iran’s right to use enriched uranium for peaceful energy purposes — apparently from supervised overseas sources — but not to enrich the material itself.

Iran has been locking in advanced uranium enrichment technology that would allow it to dash across the nuclear finish line. The U.S.-based Institute for Science and International Security estimates that Tehran will be able to conduct a so-called undetectable breakout – constructing a bomb before the West is able to detect and intervene – by the middle of 2014.

As far as the material needed for enrichment goes, Israeli sources estimated over the weekendthat Iran will soon have enough uranium for a bomb within 2 months:

Hours after an Israeli newspaper quoted a government security source saying that Iran already has at least one nuclear bomb, Israel’s leading Arab affairs analyst offered only a slightly less dramatic assessment, saying the regime in Tehran was no more than “one to two months away” from having sufficient 92% enriched uranium to build its first bomb. Ehud Yaari, the veteran analyst of Israel’s top-rated Channel 2 TV News, added that Iran also had more sophisticated centrifuges becoming available soon that could cut that time down to just “two or three weeks.”

Rice’s comments came a day before President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were set to meet to discuss regional security issues. At his meeting today with Netanyahu, Obama emphasized that the U.S. would be “enter[ing] into these negotiations very cleareyed.”

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