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Monday, March 30, 2015

Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal - NYTimes.com

Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal - NYTimes.com

Middle
East

Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal


Foreign ministers from other world
powers joined Secretary of State John Kerry in an effort to reach the outlines
of a nuclear accord with Iran by a midnight Tuesday deadline.
Credit Pool photo by Brendan
Smialowski

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — With a negotiating deadline
just two days away, Iranian officials on Sunday backed away from a critical
element of a proposed nuclear agreement, saying they are no longer willing to
ship their atomic fuel out of the country.

For months, Iran
tentatively agreed that it would send a large portion of its stockpile of uranium to Russia,
where it would not be accessible for use in any future weapons program. But on
Sunday Iran’s deputy foreign minister made a surprise comment to Iranian
reporters, ruling out an agreement that involved giving up a stockpile that
Iran has spent years and billions of dollars to amass.

“The export of stocks of enriched uranium is not in
our program, and we do not intend sending them abroad,” the official, Abbas
Araqchi, told the Iranian media, according to Agence France-Presse. “There is
no question of sending the stocks abroad.”

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Western officials confirmed that Iran was balking at
shipping the fuel out, but insisted that there were other ways of dealing with
the material. Chief among those options, they said, was blending it into a more
diluted form.

Depending on the technical details, that could make
the process of enriching it for military use far more lengthy, or perhaps
nearly impossible.

Nonetheless, the revelation that Iran is now insisting
on retaining the fuel could raise a potential obstacle at a critical time in
the talks. And for critics of the emerging deal in Congress, in Israel and in
Sunni Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, the prospect of leaving large amounts of
nuclear fuel in Iran, in any form, is bound to intensify their already
substantial political opposition.

If an accord allowing Iran to retain the fuel is
reached, the Obama administration is expected to argue that it would not
constitute a serious risk, particularly if it is regularly inspected. So far
under an interim agreement negotiated in 2013, Iran has complied fully with a
rigorous inspection process for the stockpiles of its fuel, the International

Atomic Energy Agency has said.
But the development could give opponents another
reason to object, adding it to a list of what they call concessions made by an
administration in search of an agreement. If Iran ever bars the inspectors from
the country, as North Korea did a dozen years ago, the international community
would have no assurance about the fate of the fuel. Nor has Iran answered
longstanding questions about its suspected nuclear design and
testing of components that could be used to detonate a warhead.

Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign
Relations who has been critical of the emerging accord, said the development
raised serious questions about a possible deal.

“The viability of this agreement as a reliable arms
control accord is diminished by this,” Mr. Takeyh said. “One of the core
administration arguments has been that the uranium would be shipped abroad as a
confidence building measure.”
On the assumption that Iran’s uranium stockpile would
be small, the United States and its negotiating partners had been moving toward
an agreement that would allow Iran to retain roughly 6,000 centrifuges in
operation. It is not clear how much that might change if the fuel, even in
diluted form, remains in the country.

If the fuel had been shipped to Russia, the plan
called for Moscow to convert it into specialized fuel rods for the Bushehr
nuclear power plant, Iran’s only commercial reactor. Once it was converted into
fuel rods, it would have been extremely difficult for Iran to use the material
to make a nuclear weapon.

It is not clear what form the fuel would take if it
remains on Iranian territory.

The disclosure also adds a new element to the growing
debate over whether the proposed agreement would meet President Obama’s
oft-stated assurance that the world would have at least a year’s warning if
Iran raced for a bomb — what experts call “breakout time.”

The argument over warning time, which was accelerated
by a skeptical paper published over the weekend by the former chief inspector
of the International Atomic Energy Agency, offered a taste of the kind of
arguments already taking shape in Congress.
On Sunday, Republican leaders made it clear they would
press for more sanctions against Iran if no agreement is reached here by

Tuesday. In an interview with CNN, Speaker John A. Boehner expressed doubts
about a potential agreement on Iran’s nuclear
program
.
Play Video|4:55

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“We have got a regime that’s never quite kept their
word about anything,” he said. “I just don’t understand why we would sign an
agreement with a group of people who, in my opinion, have no intention of
keeping their word.”

With pressure mounting to settle on the main
parameters of an accord, negotiators were still divided on how fast United
Nations’ and others’ sanctions on Iran might be lifted. Important differences
remained on what kind of research and development Iran could carry out on new
types of centrifuges during the last five years of what is intended to be a
15-year agreement.

There was a clear sense that the talks were
approaching a pivotal moment as the foreign ministers from other world powers
joined Secretary of State John Kerry in an effort to reach the outlines of a
deal by a midnight Tuesday deadline.

“We are not there yet,” said one Western official who,
like others in this article, declined to be identified because he was
discussing diplomatic deliberations. “There are lots of pieces floating
around.”

Recent Comments

John Figliozzi

4 hours ago
The knee jerk reactions (or maybe just the reactions of
jerks) are as laughable as they are ill-considered. The naysayers are keen to
say...

Arun

4 hours ago
Can we have the patience to wait for the Tuesday deadline
to pass before beating the war drums?

Mike Mayer

5 hours ago
I'm afraid it's all true. The Iranians cannot be trusted.
Two days before the deadline, and they pull this rat out of their hat,
knowing...

Yet even if a deal was reached by late Tuesday,
American negotiators made clear that this was just an interim step, and that
any final agreement would require months of negotiations over what were once
called “technical agreements” but are now clearly the source of continuing
disagreement.

That calculation over “breakout time” is so complex
that experts from Britain, France, Germany and Israel all have somewhat
slightly different calculations than those of experts from the United States.

The debate over breakout time intensified when Olli
Heinonen, who ran inspections for the I.A.E.A. before moving to Harvard several
years ago, published a paper on Saturday
concluding that, based on leaked estimates that Iran would operate roughly
6,500 centrifuges, “a breakout time of between seven and eight months would
still be possible.”

A senior Obama administration official here said that
while he did not dispute Mr. Heinonen’s figures, the former inspector had
conducted a textbook calculation rather than examining the real-life conditions
at Iran’s facilities.

Like other countries, Iran loses some of its nuclear
material every time it is changed from a gas to a solid, and its machinery, the
evidence shows, does not run at perfect efficiency. The official said that the
United States had created a measure based on what American officials have
called the “fastest reasonable” estimate of how long Iran would take to produce
a weapon.

Some experts outside government say the American
assumptions are reasonable, and perhaps even generous to the Iranians — who
have taken 20 years to get to this point, far longer than it took programs,
including in North Korea and Pakistan, to produce bomb-grade material.

But the emergence of competing estimates could pose a
political problem for President Obama, who has made breakout time the paramount
measure for a potential agreement.
Parts of the agreement have begun to leak out, and
reflect the balancing act underway: An effort by the United States and the
other five powers here to cripple Iran’s ability to produce enough nuclear
material for a weapon for at least 10 years, while letting the Iranians
preserve a narrative that they are not dismantling major facilities, or giving
in to American pressure.

For example, a deep underground facility at Fordow —
exposed in 2009 — would likely be converted to make medical isotopes. That
means it would not be used for enriching uranium.

But several hundred centrifuges might still be
spinning there — the facility now has about 3,000 — and that fact alone,

American officials acknowledge, could provide fodder to opponents of the deal.
Reporting was contributed by Thomas Erdbrink from Tehran, and Andrew Siddons
from Washington.

A version of this article appears in print on
March 30, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Iran
Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal. ||

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COMMENT:

Drag, whatever is the outcome of
the Iran nuclear talks it must continue and Israel to agree disarming of all
nukes.  If required simultaneously.

Israel need to be brought into the condition of the talk, which might open the
door for comprehensive solution of the issue at the same time it would open the
door for the non-nuclear world as declared by the President.

In addition, at the same time
that would force Pakistan, India, and North Korea to submit too cause without
lame excuses.

Keeping Israel with nukes and
disarming others would trigger inevitably a third world war. As mentioned,
irrespective of whatever happens to nuclear deal with Iran Israel not be taken
in the fold of US trust any more. The snake never misses its target second time
after it has struck with all the venom in its teeth nothing is left to see its
habit.

These Israel’s Zionist snakes need at all possible means
to be kept mile away and stop ever saying it is the best friend and trusted
ally in the MID EAST.Gone are those days for chanting those words.

It is good the ARAB countries are
having combined armed forces for their own protections and US would have a
better trusted friend from all side a friend without draining billions and
trillions on Israel to maintain its friendship and keep it trust worthy.

Americans kept half fed for rearing the ZIONIST Israeli Spitting Cobras fed
with the middle class and poor tax paid money. Alas! Snakes can never be
friends and ally in difficult days. All efforts made in this respect to keep it
as best friend went in vain

Israel has to be disarmed at any
cost for the better interest of the world and not a country or a few countries
of the Mid East or Muslim Countries of Mid East.

It is now imperative to make the
best use of the time for survival of Human beings of the entire world. It is as
important from ecological damage if not more equally important from the hands
of Zionists Israel brutes.





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