Saturday, October 3, 2009

'Talks wth Iran were serious, businesslike and even cordial'

The Geneva talks between the Five plus one and Iran about Irans nuclear program were serious, businesslike and even cordial.What did this meeting actually produce? Iran agreed to permit inspections of its new site. The Western negotiators came up with a clever ploy to permit Iranian low-enriched uranium (LEU) to be sent to Russia for further enrichment, probably from about 5 percent to about 20 percent, and then transported to France to be fabricated into fuel rods to feed the Iranian research reactor (ironically given to Iran by the United States in an earlier day), which is used to produce isotopes used for medical purposes. This had many dimensions. First, it reduced the Iranian LEU stock below the level required to produce a nuclear device. Second, it established the principle that Iranian enrichment could be conducted outside the country. But third, it promised to provide Iran with uranium enriched well above the level required for nuclear power reactors (but not yet at the level required for bomb-building). And lastly, it tacitly acknowledged Iran’s right to produce enriched uranium. Nothing in the reports we have seen to date indicate that the Western interlocutors insisted on the previous red line that Iran should abandon its enrichment program. Finally the two sides agreed to meet again later this month.
Those were the words of veteran Iran-specialist Gary Sick. Here is his story in full.

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