Iran & Turkey Agree To Uranium Swap In Nuclear Deal

Huffington Post

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran agreed Monday to a key big power demand, saying it was ready to ship much of its low-enriched uranium abroad – but immediately rolled out a new obstacle to compromise on its nuclear program by insisting it would continue enriching to higher levels.

Tehran's decision to agree to export a large amount of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey after refusing to let it leave the country for more than half a year appeared to be an attempt to stave off a new set of looming U.N. sanctions – a doubtful endeavor, judging by initial reactions from Western nations spearheading attempts to deal with Iran's nuclear defiance.

Britain's government said it was awaiting confirmation of the reports on Iran's deal, reached together with Turkey and Brazil, but insisted it remains committed to new sanctions against Tehran.

"Our position on Iran is unchanged at the present time," Steve Field, Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman, told reporters. "Iran has an obligation to reassure the international community, and until it does so, we will continue to work with our international partners on a sanctions resolution in the United Nations Security Council."

In Washington, a U.S official also suggested that Iran's move was too little, too late.

Iran "will still have to take additional steps to assure the international community of its peaceful intentions, including complying with five UN Security Council resolutions it is currently violating," he said, asking for anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly. "Its failure to take those steps ... is the reason we have been working with our ... partners on a sanctions resolution in the Security Council.

"Until Iran takes concrete actions to meet its obligations, that work will continue."

German government spokesman Christoph Steegmans noted that the question remains whether Iran suspends enrichment of nuclear material at home, apparently alluding to Tehran's decision to continue higher enrichment activities.

Despite such Western reaction, Iran's move might give it a diplomatic victory by weakening growing resolve by Russia and China to support a fourth set of Security Council sanctions. Moscow and Beijing were responsible for watering down the language of previous anti-Iran sanctions but in recent months appeared to swing behind the U.S., Britain and France – the three other veto-wielding Security Council members – in their push for new U.N. penalties. ... 78220.html