US President Barack Obama reportedly sent a secret message to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei expressing a willingness to accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if Iran can prove it will not pursue nuclear weapons, The Washington Post reported Friday.
According to columnist David Ignatius, Obama sent Khamenei the message via Turkish Prime Minister Recap Erdogan, who was was in Iran last week. The message, sent ahead of next week's scheduled nuclear negotiations, was meant to emphasize that "time is running out for a peaceful settlement," Ignatius wrote.
A proposal allowing Iran a safeguarded, civilian nuclear program in exchange for stringent nuclear safeguards would not be new. According to the Arms Control Association, in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war, the George W. Bush administration rejected a proposal from Iran that would limit its nuclear program to energy production.
Negotiations between Iran and key European countries in 2005 led to several proposals, ultimately rejected over the subject of Iranian uranium enrichment, to ensure Iran's nuclear program had no military aspect.
Updated proposals surfaced in 2006, 2008 and 2009, including variations that would allow uranium "fuel swaps" to rid Iran of its excess enriched uranium or set Russia as a low-level uranium supplier.
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