Yesterday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad surprised everyone when he declared publicly that the terms of the draft third party enrichment deal Western nations have been demanding that Iran sign are perfectly acceptable.
Today, as Iranians debate the relative merits of the deal and wonder if it amounts to “caving in” to Western demands, Western officials are responding quite negatively to getting exactly what they have demanded for months.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Iran’s acceptance of the deal, something France his repeatedly demanded, amounted to “buying time” and said he was “perplexed and even a bit pessimistic.” His German counterpart Guido Westerwelle said the acceptance was meaningless and called for UN sanctions against Iran for “its refusal to negotiate.”
Iran initially proposed the third party enrichment deal in late September, but balked at the draft reached at an IAEA meeting, expressing concern at the lack of guarantees that they would ever actually get the uranium back once it was shipped abroad.
Ahmadinejad rejected the concerns, saying that Iran could simply enrich more uranium if the deal was reneged on and it would prove that the nations were not trustworthy.
Not everyone was pessimistic, however, and Russian officials said it was a “positive sign” and China, long the lone opponent to additional sanctions, said it was vital to reach a solution as quickly as possible.