Monday, November 21, 2005

US compromise

The BBC had extensive coverage, Friday, of the 'documents on how to build a crucial part of a nuclear bomb.' More precisely, these are about how to form uranium metal into "hemispherical forms". 

The NYT further reported ( 'Bush Backs Plan to Move Iran's Uranium Enrichment to Russia', 18 Nov 2005) from Pusan, South Korea:
President Bush told President Vladimir V. Putin today that the United States was willing to accept a nuclear compromise - rejected by Tehran in recent days - that would move all of Iran's enrichment of uranium to Russia.

"We hope that over time Iran will see the virtue of this approach, and it may provide a way out," Mr. Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, told reporters here today, after the two leaders met.
[...]
Until a few days ago, the United States seemed poised to press for a vote [on referring Iran to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions]  when the [I.A.E.A.'s] board meets late next week. But in recent days, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who attended the meeting today with Mr. Putin, has signaled that she may delay that vote again, perhaps in hopes of gathering more votes.

"The Russians are getting very, very frustrated with the refusal of the Iranians to move to a middle ground," one senior American official said. A senior Russian delegation that went to Tehran last week was unable to persuade the Iranians to consider giving up enriching uranium on their own soil, the American officials said.
[...]
Under the nuclear plan proposed by Russia and endorsed by Britain, France and Germany [...] Tehran would be permitted to continue to convert raw uranium into a gas form, called UF6. That gas can be enriched if poured into high-speed centrifuges, which made up most of the technology Dr. Khan's network sold to Iran in 1987, and in a series of deals that resumed in 1994. [...] Iran would no longer be able to enrich uranium on its soil. The Iranian government has said it will never give up its right to enrich, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Mr. Hadley, in describing the proposed compromise in public for the first time today, said that Iran, "while retaining its right to enrichment and reprocessing, would, nonetheless, find it in its interest to give up that right in terms of its own territory." An enrichment facility would be built in Russia, "in which Iran would have management and financial interest, but not a technical interest." In other words, Iran would have no control over the level to which the uranium is enriched, preventing it from making bomb fuel.

"This is an interesting idea," Mr. Hadley said. "The Iranians, probably not surprisingly, initially have said no." But he said he hoped Iran would come around.
[my emphasis]
A similar report was carried in the FT, which also indicated that officials from the EU3, Russia, China and the US met in London to discuss the issue, Friday.

For earlier comments, see fuel for Iran.

BBC (Radio 4) also had a report ( that I'd heard a day or two before, but I can't remember where) on how the Ahmadinejad government is replacing numerous moderates, or reformists, in positions like university professors.

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