Saturday, April 22, 2006

Middle East Nuclear News

Iran Says It Has "Basic" Enrichment Deal With Russia
22 April 2006

REUTERS (TEHRAN) - Iran's ambassador to the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Saturday that Iran had a basic deal to enrich uranium in a joint venture in Russia but said details were still being worked out, Iranian state radio reported.
Russia has offered to enrich uranium for Iran to allay concerns that Tehran could use domestically-produced enriched uranium to make nuclear bombs.
But progress on the deal has been hindered by Iran's refusal to bow to international demands that it halt all home-grown enrichment work. A "basic agreement" on enrichment with Russia was previously announced by Iran in February but talks subsequently appeared to stall.
Ali-Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said a full agreement was now close in reach.
Source: (Reliability: 6.0)

Comment: As of this post, this story has not been completely confirmed, but if it turns out to be true it obviously has tremendous implications for the United States. First, one of the major arguments the U.S. put forth for sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council has to do with Iran's transparency regarding nuclear enrichment. Now that this major issue has been alleviated, at least on the surface, Iran will likely play the victim in this fight and back off the rhetoric to try and draw more support for this new deal, especially from China and the more flighty European nations. (Analytic Confidence: 6.0)


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