Iran Fateh-110 missile launch 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is working to revise a uranium enrichment
deal with Teheran that collapsed last year in order to create a
confidence-building step as part of talks it hopes to reconvene next
RELATED:EU slaps new sanctions against Islamic Regime'Iran begins injecting uranium into Bushehr reactor core'Ashton, Russia call on Iran to agree to nuclear talks'US, Israel and Iran have approached the end game'
This time the US is seeking to use leverage from the sanctions
imposed this summer by the UN, EU, Congress and others in diplomatic talks with
Iran, stalled since the proposed enrichment deal fell apart.
important to note that the proposal would have to be updated, reflecting ongoing
enrichment activity by Iran over the ensuing year,” State Department spokesman
PJ Crowley said. “We still think the concept has a potential value, so we would
be interested in continuing to pursue that with Iran if Iran is
The original Teheran research reactor proposal, negotiated
in Vienna last October, would have involved Iran sending most of its enriched
uranium abroad through France and Russia so it could be enriched further and
returned to Iran for medical use. The arrangement would have given Iran access
to the medical capabilities it needed while removing much of the enriched
uranium the West fears could be used to make a bomb.
However, Iran backed
out of the deal before any enriched uranium was removed.
Now the United
States wants to see a larger amount of enriched uranium removed from Iran, since
in the past year Teheran has produced much more of it in its
The New York Times reported Thursday that the increased
amount of enriched uranium the US and its allies were set to demand that Iran
ship abroad would be two-thirds more than in the previous deal, and that the
deal would include a demand that Iran stop enriching uranium to 20 percent, as
well as well as negotiate about the future of its nuclear program.
expert Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said that
sanctions had helped push Iran to reevaluate its foreign policy and come to the
table. However, he doubted that Teheran would accept an even stricter deal than
the one it ultimately rejected last year.
“The sanctions are clearly
inflicting serious damage on the Iranian economy and forcing the regime to
implement measures to counter the impact of sanctions,” he assessed. “Some of
these countermeasures, like massive reductions in subsidies for gasoline and
other commodities, could be economically disastrous and further fan the flames
of political discontent.
Other Iranian countermeasures may be more
effective, like a return to talks.”
But he warned it was “very unlikely”
the regime would do anything more than use those talks as a tactic for defusing
some of the pressure it currently faces, or accept the new demands.
think the Iranian regime genuinely believes [it] can withstand the economic and
political pressure,” he said.
Though the Iranians have indicated a
readiness to hold another round of talks, they have also shrouded that
willingness in harsh rhetoric on Israel’s and America’s nuclear
Crowley noted that so far, the Iranians hadn’t responded to
the offer extended by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, of a meeting on
November 16 and 17.