WASHINGTON – The US is looking to arrange high-level talks with Iran on a
potential nuclear fuel swap deal proposed last year but never acted on by
“We hope to have the same kind of meeting coming up in the
coming weeks that we had last October,” US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley
told reporters Wednesday, referring to a meeting the permanent UN Security
Council members – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany, had
with Iran in Geneva.
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The American openness to another meeting with Iran
comes after Teheran recently delivered a letter to the UN’s International Atomic
Energy Agency in a bid of outreach toward the international body, which the US
is now reviewing.
The letter itself followed the imposition of Security
Council sanctions and tough unilateral sanctions from the US and, this week, the
EU and Canada.
Under the plan reached in Geneva, Iran was to ship
stockpiles of its lowenriched uranium to France and Russia for further
enrichment so it could be used for medical purposes. Iran seemed to agree to the
deal at the time, but never moved forward with it. In June, it signed a similar
deal with Turkey and Brazil right before the Security Council’s sanctions vote,
a move dismissed by the US as a ploy to undercut the sanctions.
letter to the IAEA answered certain questions posed about its deal with Turkey
In objecting to the Turkey-Brazil deal in June, the US
pointed out that Iran had since enriched significantly more uranium – a first
step to producing a nuclear weapon – and shipping the same quantity abroad then
as was agreed to in October would not have the desired effect of limiting Iran’s
ability to move toward building a nuclear weapon.
On Wednesday, though,
Crowley said that “we obviously are fully prepared to follow up with Iran on
specifics regarding our initial proposal,” as well as address “the broader
issues of trying to fully understand the nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”