'Iran staying below nuclear red line ahead of vote'

'Wall Street Journal' quotes officials as saying Khamenei attempting to avert crisis with West by limiting uranium enrichment.

April 2, 2013 10:34
2 minute read.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at NAM Summit.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at NAM 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has decided to rein in the country's nuclear progress in order to avoid passing

The International Atomic Energy Agency stated in a report released in December that the Islamic Republic had amassed 232 kilograms of uranium enriched to a 20% fissile concentration, however it was converting 100 kilograms of that amount into plates for its medical research reactor in Tehran.

Iranian representatives and officials of the P5+1 group of world powers were scheduled to meet for nuclear talks in Kazakhstan later this week.

A former senior White House adviser said Monday that he doesn’t expect a breakthrough in upcoming talks with Tehran and certainly no deal reached before Iranian presidential elections in June.

Gary Samore, until recently the White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction, predicted that “ups and downs and differences and frustrations are going to continue for the foreseeable future” in world powers’ negotiations with Iran.

At the same time, Samore observed that the Iranians are slowing down aspects of their nuclear program for the time being.

“Even if there isn’t a formal deal, I do think the Iranians are exercising some constraints on their program for political reasons,” said Samore, who was speaking at the Brookings Institution.

He assessed that Khamenei was being careful not to come near the red line of advanced uranium enrichment that Netanyahu laid down at the UN in the fall, since he doesn’t want to trigger more sanctions or a military attack before the elections are held.

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