How Engaging With Iran Has Worked So Far
If Iran follows through on its Geneva agreements we’re in much better shape.
The Iranians’ flexibility and the concrete proposals to which they agreed at the Geneva meeting will, if implemented, at least for the moment largely neutralize efforts to muster new sanctions, much less military action against Tehran — and all without necessarily changing the fundamentals of Iran’s nuclear output.
The even more significant news from Geneva was Iran’s agreement, in principle, to a proposal under which it would ship most of its current stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia for further enrichment, and then to France to be turned into fuel rods to power a Tehran reactor used for medical research. The details are to be negotiated under IAEA auspices in Vienna on October 18, but if the scheme is implemented, it would be a major confidence-building measure: Iran’s current stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) has been cited as Exhibit A in dire warnings that it is drawing perilously close to bomb-making capability, on the grounds that if further enriched, that stockpile could already provide enough materiel for a single bomb. But the deal hammered out at Geneva would turn three quarters of it from its current gas form into solid fuel rods, which are extremely difficult to turn into weapons-grade material.
As Islamic and Middle East Studies scholar Reza Aslan notes:
Well, it’s actually quite significant. I mean, one of the major issues that we had with Iran was its stockpile of low enriched uranium. And, frankly, eight years of an administration that refused to talk to Iran unless it stopped its enrichment process resulted in eight years of uninterrupted enrichment.
And in an afternoon, we managed to make some sort of agreement for Iran to reduce its nuclear stockpile, its enriched uranium stockpile by about 75 percent. So that’s a fairly significant deal.Click here for reuse options!
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