National Security Adviser Susan Rice has stated that the administration will not accept any deal would “let Iran enrich its own uranium.” The State Department’s top figures, including Secretary of State John Kerry, subsequently stated multiple times that it considers no deal better than a deal that falls short of U.S. demands.
For his part on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif doubled down on exactly the opposite:
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted on Monday that his country has the “absolute right” to enrich uranium on its soil, ISNA news agency reported. “The mastery of civil nuclear technology, including the enrichment of uranium, on Iranian soil is the absolute right of Iran,” Zarif said at a meeting in Tehran with the visiting Swiss deputy foreign minister, Yves Rossier.
The Wall Street Journal this evening reported that Iran is preparing a package of concessions that would fall short of the explicitly articulated U.S. demands.
Iran will reportedly offer to halt uranium enrichment to 20% purity, alongside other incentives. The offer would fall far short of demands repeatedly laid out by U.S. lawmakers that would see sanctions diluted only after Iran fulfilled its obligations to the international community – codified in half a dozen United Nations Security Council resolutions – that it fully dismantle its nuclear program.
U.S. analysts and officials have unpacked what steps Iran would have to take to fully meet those calls. Given that the regime has already locked in most of the infrastructure it needs to dash across the nuclear finish line too quickly for the West to intervene, Tehran would be required – among other steps having to do with weapons work and plutonium-related activity – to ship out all of its enriched uranium and cease all further enrichment. Either continued enrichment work or continued possession of enriched material would allow Iranian scientists to reconstitute their nuclear program and quickly produce weapons-grade material.
[Photo: kremlin.ru / Wiki Commons]