Khamenei: Iran Won’t Freeze Civilian Nuclear Development

As Deadline Nears, Supreme Leader Reiterates Position

With the latest nuclear deadline just over a week away, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today reiterated his positions on the nascent pact, hinting at some minor changes but insisting on long-standing demands like immediate sanctions relief.

The biggest issue Khamanei laid out was the future of Iran’s research into further civilian nuclear energy uses, saying that a long term freeze “like 10 or 12 years” would not be acceptable. The exact demands of Western nations on this have varied quite a bit, and it is unclear where they are now.

That the Supreme Leader explicitly defined his terms for a long-term freeze, however, suggests there may be some wiggle room for a shorter term freeze as part of the final deal, so long as Iran is eventually, and at least relatively soon, free to resume development of peaceful nuclear technology.

Iran’s interest in this is likely both in improving their enrichment capabilities and in finding better ways to design the Arak reactor, which has been a matter of contention for Western nations, but is expected to be Iran’s only source of medical isotopes once the nearly half-century old Tehran Research Reactor finally breaks down.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.