In Iran Nuclear Talks, Powers Agree to Formal Talks in May

The Iranians have showed signs of compromise, possible agreeing to a nuclear fuel swap deal

by John Glaser, April 14, 2012

In “constructive and useful” negotiations with world powers, Iran agreed on Saturday to begin formal talks on its nuclear program next month.

Lady Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s high commissioner for foreign affairs said the next round of negotiations will take place in Baghdad on May 23.  She said the talks are aimed at restoring “full confidence in the exclusively peaceful” nuclear program in Tehran.

Iran has shown signs of compromising with the P5+1 – U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – to calm irrational fears about possible military dimensions to its nuclear enrichment program. The intelligence community in the U.S. and the EU has been that Iran has no nuclear weapons program.

Some reports have even claimed Iranian officials have proposed a fuel swap deal, in which Tehran would swap its enriched uranium for foreign-made nuclear fuel rods to be used in its civilian nuclear power plants. This was the basis of the failed deal in 2010, which the U.S. ended up reneging on and rejecting, leading to months of tension and warmongering.

No reports have come out describing compromise from the U.S., which initially demanded closing an enrichment site at Fordow and halt all 20 percent-level enrichment. However, one anonymous Iranian official close to the negotiations said the atmosphere is constructive this time around.

“I would say there was a very constructive atmosphere compared to last time generally a positive vibe,” he said. “The principle seems to be there for future negotiations.”

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