With Iran and the P5+1 making good progress at talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, a new round of talks scheduled for next week has raised high hopes. But Iran is hoping to see an actual proposal.
“They should come to the negotiating table with a new approach,” added Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who said he believed the February plan the US insisted on is too outdated to even bother with anymore.
The February plan, such as it was, demanded Iran suspend all 20 percent uranium enrichment, hand over significant amounts of its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium unilaterally and close the Fordow enrichment plant. In return, the US would allow Iran to return to gray market bartering in gold, but would keep materially all sanctions in place beyond that.
While that was asking an awful lot in February, the reality is that Iran’s 20 percent stockpile is shrinking drastically as Iran begins to wind down production, and converts much of it to fuel rods for its medical isotope reactor. It isn’t even clear that Iran has enough of a stockpile left to satisfy the demand, and its mostly irrelevant at any rate because, again, Iran is close to ending that production simply because they’ve made all the fuel rods they’ll ever need.
As a practical matter, getting an “in public” offer would be a major victory for Iran, because the US often likes to go to P5+1 talks with no agenda and nothing laid out for them, simply issue demands and then leave, arguing Iran was unreasonable for not agreeing to everything immediately, without any negotiation taking place.
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