Warming up Iran’s frozen nuclear talks

Photo: Warming up Iran’s frozen nuclear talks / Iran

Dalga Khatinoglu, Trend's Iran News Service Chief/

A part of the proposals offered during the last nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers in Almaty have been revealed.

There is not any information about Iran's proposals to the P5+1, but a senior U.S. official told AP anonymously the major powers' proposals to Iran would allow the country to keep a limited amount of highly enriched uranium, but not to make anymore stops short of demanding the full shutdown of an underground nuclear facility and offers to remove some trade sanctions that have hurt Iran's economy.

Iranian officials recognise these proposals as 'a victory, a turning point by world powers and constructive'.

The more sanctions bite and especially those on Iran's oil exports and banking sector system remain unchanged, then why Iran is satisfied?

First of all, Iran has refined above 250 kg of uranium with 20 per cent purity and converted a half of that into powder or nuclear fuel to feed the five-megawatt Tehran research reactor (TRR).

This 46 year old reactor produces medical isotopes for cancer patients. Iran bought 115.5 kg of 20 per cent enriched nuclear fuel from Argentina and refuelled the reactor in 1993 and this amount met TRR until 2011.

To date, if Iran's converted 20 per cent refined uranium to nuclear fuel is more than that bought from Argentina, then Iran doesn't need more 20 per cent enriched uranium.

On the other hand, Iran has 20 per cent refined uranium gas (UF6) as much as the amount of the produced fuel as well.

the proposals Allow Iran to keep the remaining 20 per cent enriched UF6 inside the country to convert into nuclear fuel for whenever it needs.

Iran's current 20 per cent enriched UF6 stockpile is under than 150 kg, two times less than the required amount to produce a nuclear weapon by keeping enrichment up to 90 per cent purity. Then this proposal of P 5+1 favours both sides.

The second positive point of this proposal for Iran is preparation of a framework for reviewing the regulation of uranium enrichment process in Iran. Enriching uranium has been banned by UN Security Council's six resolutions, but Iran rejected this saying uranium enrichment is its right based on the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

It is a fact that the elimination process of international sanctions, even in ordinary situations takes several years. For instance lifting sanction on Iraq took seven years after the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime. Sanctions on Burma also have not been eliminated totally even after the passing of a couple of years of massive reforms in the country, yet.

International sanctions are a very complex issue and take several years to be eliminated completely. Iran knows this and the country's new approach can be a turning point for starting the elimination of sanctions on a gradual basis.

On the other hand, P 5+1 countries including China, Russia, the U.S., UK, France plus Germany promised to avoid adopting new resolution over Iran in the UN Security Council. Then Iran can continue nuclear talks with positive hope. Western countries can easy imposed sanctions on Iran gradually versus Iran's cooperation with them in clarifying its nuclear activities.

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