In a new turn of events in the Iran nuclear talks saga, Tehran has taken one step forward, two steps back in apparent attempts to pacify the West, the AP reports.The country’s nuclear chief, Fereidoun Abbasi, said Tehran could eventually stop its production of the 20 per cent enriched uranium needed for a research reactor once it had made enough, but would continue to enrich uranium to 3.5 per cent, needed for power generation.
On the surface, this addresses the West’s concerns that Iran might generate warhead strength (more than 90 per cent) uranium in months, but Abbasi has refused the demand to transfer Iran’s enriched uranium out of the country and close its enrichment facilities.
While Abbasi’s statements seemed to show some give in Iran’s position, those made by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi show the defensive Iran the world has come to know: he said Iran would not accept any preconditions to the talks with the U.S., France, Russia, the UK, China, and Germany scheduled for Friday.
Iran’s seeming willingness to compromise could be a direct effect of the sanctions imposed on it by the West. The impending oil embargo would make things worse, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Oil production is already at a 10-year low, with inflation at 21 per cent.
But Iran’s offer might not be sincere. Officials believe providing some wiggle room could weaken sanctions and soften the more stringent demands by the West, which include a complete halt to uranium enrichment, The Hindustan Times reports.
But if that’s true, Iran seems to have fallen short of the U.S. and Europe’s expectations. Hillary Clinton has urged Tehran to take concrete steps to prove its rejection of nuclear weapons is “not an abstract belief” but a “government policy,” the AP reports.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.