While Iranian officials have been insisting for many months that this was never really an option on the table, the sudden talk by US officials of having Iran ship its low-enriched uranium stockpile to Russia seems to be adding difficulty to the deadline talks.
US officials, bizarrely, began the day by insisting the export of the stockpile was always intended to be part of the deal, though State Department officials later backed off that, saying there were alternatives.
The theory is that Iran could send the stockpile to Russia for conversion into fuel rods, though Iran is keen on having the entirety of the process, including the fuel rod conversion, done domestically to prevent having no fuel for their power plant.
Officials continue to insist the talks are going “down to the wire,” though the last minute US demands seem to be an effort to cow Iran into giving sudden concessions on a deal which by most indications is already virtually finalized, with the looming deadline as leverage.
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