Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, is willing to shut down a key nuclear site believed to be central in the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment program in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions that have crippled the country’s financial sector, according to a report which appeared in the prestigious German weekly Der Spiegel.
According to intelligence sources who spoke with the newspaper, Rouhani is willing to allow Western inspectors to oversee the removal of centrifuges from the secretive Fordo plant. Rouhani may even announce the offer and delve further into details during his appearance before the United Nations General Assembly at the end of the month.
According to Der Spiegel
, Rouhani’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is due to meet European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in New York next week to give her a “rough outline” of the deal.
Rouhani, who is considered more moderate than his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is believed to be seeking a rapprochement with the West and the United States in particular. There were reports that Rouhani and US President Barack Obama would meet at the UN later this month, but the White House said there were no such plans.
Intelligence officials told Der Spiegel
that Rouhani was so alarmed at the extent of Iran’s economic morass that he was spurred to put together a package of concessions, this despite opposition from more hawkish elements in the Islamic Republic.