'Obama mulls compromise on Iranian nuke program'

Washington to consider allowing Iran to continue uranium enrichment up to 5%, 'LA Times' quotes US gov't officials as saying.

April 28, 2012 09:55
1 minute read.
Iran nuclear talks in Istanbul

Iran nuclear talks in Istanbul 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Tolga Adanali/Pool)


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The Obama administration is hinting that it would be open to making concessions over Iran’s nuclear program so long as the country agrees to numerous safeguards, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

US government officials have been hinting that in upcoming P5+1 (United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia) talks with Iran, Obama may agree to it continuing to enrich uranium up to 5 percent purity – the upper end of the range for civilian purposes – in exchange for Tehran agreeing to unrestricted inspections, strict oversight of the nuclear program and numerous other safeguards long demanded by the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, according to the report.

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The idea of allowing Tehran to continue to enrich uranium is contentious considering that even at 5% enrichment, Iranian scientists might be able to gain the knowledge and experience to build a bomb, the report stated.

The White House has long denied being open to a compromise on Iranian uranium enrichment.

Talks between Iran and the P5+1 that took place earlier this month were praised by the White House as a “positive first step,” but Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, called them a “five-week gift for Iran to continue enriching uranium.”

The P5+1 are due to meet Iran for a second round of nuclear negotiations on May 23 in Baghdad. A senior administration official was quoted by the Times as saying that “there can be a discussion” of allowing low-level domestic enrichment. The report also cited Gary Samore, a top White House official on nuclear proliferation, as saying that which parts of Tehran’s program can continue “is a matter for negotiations.”

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