An official from Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation speaks on his mobile phone in front of uranium enriching centrifuges at an exhibition of Iran’s nuclear achievements at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran April 20, 2009.
That’s how many uranium-enriching centrifuges that Iran wants if it can’t replace existing models with advanced ones that have that same output.
Iran currently has nearly 20,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges, about half of which are running.
The U.S. demands they run around 1,000 centrifuges, dismantle all on standby, and agree to tight limits on how much enriched uranium Tehran can stockpile.
Negotiators from Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany are attempting to make a deal by July 20.
There are a number of major sticking points in talks, but a deal obviously won’t happen as long as the centrifuge chasm remains.
“There’s no splitting the difference here,” Robert J. Einhorn, who was on the American negotiating team until last year and still advises the U.S., told The New York Times. “If the Iranians keep taking the view that they must have the capacity to fuel power reactors, they are not going to even get in the ballpark of the numbers the U.S. is talking about.”
Sources told Laura Rozen of al Monitor that Iranians were frustrated that the Russians and Chinese had apparently both publicly and privately sided with others in the P5+1, arguing that Iran would have to lower centrifuge numbers significantly to get a final deal.
However, instead of capitulation, Iran is attempting to use the crisis in Iraq to influence nuclear negotiations.
“The Iranians desperately needed leverage,” one European negotiator told The Times. “They clearly think the American fear of getting sucked back into Iraq may be just the thing, at just the right moment.”
Iranian General Qassem Suleimani is running things on the ground as Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces (IRGC) and Iran-trained Shia militiamen fight with Iraq’s army.
The U.S. are currently flying unmanned drones and manned F-18s over Iraq to collect surveillance and signaled that they will share intelligence with the Iranians.
In any case, one Western diplomat told Agence France-Presse that it is “worrying that there is no evolution on the part of the Iranians on most subjects” regarding the nuclear negotiations.
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