Iran’s third party enrichment deal does not appear to be dead yet, as officials have greeted the reiteration of Iran’s promise to halt 20 percent enrichment of uranium if they were able to complete the proposed fuel swap with surprising optimism.
Even US officials seem to be open to the idea, with an unnamed official telling Reuters that, now that the UN sanctions are in place, the US is “more than happy” to discuss the deal that they angrily rejected on the eve of the sanctions.
Iran has been enriching uranium at 3.6% for years, the level needed for power generation, and only began modest attempts at 20% enrichment earlier this year, after it became clear that Western officials were not willing to accept a fuel swap that would provide Iran with fuel for its US-built Tehran Research Reactor, vitally needed for producing medical isotopes.
Western nations have maintained that they wanted the third party enrichment deal, including the fuel swap, all along, but when Turkey attempted to broker such a deal officials responded with outrage. it seems now, however, that this deal might still happen, and the anger with Turkey for suggesting it has turned to praise, with German FM Guido Westerwelle lauding Turkey’s efforts.
In the long run it seems the only objection to Turkey’s deal was that it stood in the way of the sanctions, which seem to have been an end unto themselves for Western officials looking to prove that they were “getting tough” on Iran.