Diplomats familiar with the ongoing nuclear negotiations in Vienna have revealed that there is a new round of discussions underway on the possibility of Iran exporting some of its excess enriched uranium to Russia for reprocessing and sale on the open market.
Though Iran’s uranium stockpile isn’t enormous, Western officials averse to the deal have complained it was still too big. Iran processed some of its stockpile into fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, and retains the rest at an even lower enrichment level, suitable for powering their Bushehr power plant.
Iran has spurned previous proposals that they export the uranium abroad to be held by some other, more US-friendly nation. This was understandable, as Western nations (notably France) have previously reneged on agreements with Iran, and Iranians feared this would happen again.
The compromise of having Russia sell the uranium abroad through existing channel and give Iran a large share of the profits on the sale makes a lot more sense, since it would not only resolve the problem of leaving valuable uranium abroad where it might be seized, but would also give them another influx of cash at a time when potential sanctions easing could spur a new round of investment.