Iran Proposals Redux

A while ago, Jeffrey “posted the full text”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/index.php?id=583 of an informal Iranian proposal to limit its centrifuge operation to a facility of about 3,000 machines.

Although the proposal contains a few things to like (e.g. a commitment to forego reprocessing), the 3,000 limit isn’t one of them.

The second phase of Iran’s proposal _does_ include the “assembly, testing and installation of 3,000 centrifuges at Natanz.” The fourth phase includes the fun-filled “incremental manufacturing, assembly and installation of centrifuge components up to the numbers [50K+] envisaged for Natanz.”

As an aside, a State Department official “confirms”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2005_07-08/IAEA_Iran.asp Iran has also floated the idea of a facility with a few hundred centrifuges. The official wasn’t sure when the Iranians had done this.

Additionally, Russia “suggested”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2005_07-08/IAEA_Iran.asp an interesting proposal, although the details vary depending on who is talking:

bq. Sirus Naseri, head delegate to Iran’s talks with the Europeans, told Agence France Presse May 21 that Tehran is considering a Russian offer to enrich Iranian uranium, but the terms of the deal are unclear. Russia has told the United States that it offered to produce enriched uranium from Iranian lightly processed uranium ore, or “yellowcake.” But Iran claims that Russia offered to use Iranian uranium hexafluoride, a Department of State official told Arms Control Today June 10. Iran has a uranium conversion facility designed to convert yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride. Uranium hexafluoride is perceived as the greater proliferation threat.

Obviously, I prefer proposals that constrain Iran from producing fissile material as much as possible.

It is tough to know the extent to which this all matters, given the election. All of the above could be off the table, but “it looks like”:http://www.mfa.gov.ir/output/INDEX.HTM Iran will not decide anything until the EU3 deliver their proposal, due by August.

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