has put forward a new proposal to resolve the nuclear crisis that includes a freeze on production of 20% enriched uranium, a pledge to convert its stockpile to fuel rods and an agreement to relinquish spent fuel for a still-to-be completed heavy water reactor, according to an Iranian source who has proven reliable in the past, the al-Monitor reported.
The offers, combined with increased scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are meant to provide confidence that Iran could not quickly break out of its nuclear obligations and make nuclear weapons.
The Iranian, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations that resumed Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Geneva are supposed to be confidential, said the proposal presented by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif included two stages, each to last a maximum six months.
Iranian FM with European counterpart (Photo: EPA)
In the first stage, the source said, Iran would stop producing 20% enriched uranium and “try to convert the stock” it has amassed to fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, an old American-origin facility that produces medical isotopes.
Iran has already converted or set aside the bulk of the more than 370 kilograms (815 pounds) of uranium it has enriched to 20% — which is easy to further enrich to weapons grade — but it isn’t clear whether Iranians have the know-how to produce workable fuel rods, the al-Monitor report said.
According to the source, other elements of the proposal include:
• More information about the Arak heavy water reactor, including access by the IAEA to monitor construction of the facility, whose completion has been repeatedly delayed and is now scheduled for the end of 2014.
• Full monitoring of the underground enrichment plant at Fordow, which would be turned into a research center, and negotiations on limiting the scale of production at the Natanz enrichment plant.
• Iranian ratification of the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which allows unannounced inspections of nuclear sites.
Representatives of the State Department and the European Union declined comment on the purported elements of the Iranian program, citing their pledge to keep negotiations confidential at this delicate stage. Meanwhile, the American administration clarified that no ease of sanctions was agreed upon in talks with the Iranians in Geneva this week, and that the US will not take steps in that direction before Tehran proves it intends to abandon military nuclear program.
Following a report in the New York Times that the US is considering to free up frozen Iranian assets worth billions of dollars, Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the State Department, said that talking about specific sanctions at this juncture is premature and speculative.
According to her, nothing was decided in Geneva regarding sanctions ease.
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