Finalizing Deal Could Take Months
While the proposal itself remains confidential among the nations involved in this week’s conference, details of Iran’s nuclear proposal to the P5+1 have leaked into the regional press, with many things we had already assumed, and some that hadn’t been discussed previously.
Under the plan, Iran would agree to a full stop of its 20 percent uranium enrichment, and would convert all of its existing stock to fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), the US-built medical isotope reactor. All enrichment at Fordo would end, and the underground facility would be converted into a research center. Natanz would remain open for enrichment, though the negotiations are discussing the level and scope of that enrichment still.
Regarding previous reports of Iran offering additional transparency above and beyond that required by their current safeguards agreement, the report now is that Iran will ratify the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), which governs more stringent reporting requirements.
Serious discussion is also being had about the still-under-construction Arak reactor, with Iran agreeing to leave handling spent fuel at the site to the IAEA. This is important because the spent fuel would contain plutonium, and with reprocessing could be weaponized (though Iran has no such reprocessing facility either existing or planned).
Officials have to a man expressed optimism about the negotiations, though Western diplomats sought to tamp down expectations that a deal could be finalized at the November 7-8 meetings, saying there’s much more discussion before a deal is done.
That’s in keeping with Iran’s position as well, as they have reportedly sought to finalize a deal within six months, and a lot of details about timetables and sanctions easing have to be worked out, which will take time.
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