Iran Rejects Russian Nuke Compromise
Iran has rejected Russia’s compromise offer to enrich uraniam for its “peaceful” nuclear program, virtually assuring that the U.N. Security Council will vote for sanctions.
Tehran on Monday rejected an offer by Russia to allow Iran to enrich uranium for its nuclear reactors in Russia. Ha’aretz reports that the proposal had been put forward by Russia, which is helping Iran develop and build the reactors, as a way to allay concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and its potential to be turned into a weapons program. Iran continues to insist its program is being developed solely for peaceful purposes.
The European Union had been pushing for Iran to accept Russia’s offer, as it would be a way to ensure that only low-grade uranium, suitable for power stations, would be processed. But Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, told Iranian TV that Iran will continue to insist on its right to enrich the material in Iran itself. He did add, however, that Iran would be willing to consider conducting certain phases of the process outside Iran.
Mr. Larijani will meet with European negotiators this month in an effort to work out some kind of understanding before the next meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in February. If an agreement about Iran’s nuclear program is not reached, experts say, it is very likely that the country will be referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
The piece rounds up several recent press accounts speculating on possible preemptive strikes against Iran’s facilities by the United States and/or Israel, including an OTB post from last week:
James Joyner, editor of the Outside the Beltway blog and a management analyst for a Washington-area defense contractor, examines the scenarios for a US and/or Israeli preemptive strike against Iran, and finds that, at this point in time, there is “not a good set of options.”
The lack of those options would seem to preclude a strike from taking place but, it seems, not derail speculation.