Iran said to ready ‘three-stage’ nuclear compromise

Iran said to ready ‘three-stage’ nuclear compromise

Deal would entail Western recognition of Iranian right to enrich uranium on its own soil, report says

An anti-aircraft gun guarding the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz in Iran in 2007. (photo credit: AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian/File)
An anti-aircraft gun guarding the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz in Iran in 2007. (photo credit: AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian/File)

The Iranian delegation to an upcoming round of nuclear talks with the P5+1 nations plans to present a three-stage compromise proposal that would entail Western recognition of the legitimacy of Iran’s controversial uranium enrichment program.

The first stage of the proposal includes a motion that would commit the P5+1 nations – the US, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany – to defining “the recognition of the uranium enrichment right on Iran’s soil” as a goal of the negotiations, Xinhua reported Sunday.

According to the report, which was based on comments by officials cited by Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency, the proposal, to be presented this week at negotiations in Geneva, would delineate “mutual steps.”

“The Iranian officials believe that, without any agreement on the first stage, the continuation of the negotiations will be very difficult and probably impossible,” ISNA reported.

Diplomats hope the conference will mark a new chapter in Western relations with Iran, officials familiar with the upcoming talks have said.

According to a report Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal, Iran is preparing to offer to limit its production of nuclear fuel in exchange for an easing of international sanctions.

“The Iranians are preparing to go to Geneva with a serious package,” said a former Western diplomat quoted in the Journal. “These include limits on the numbers of centrifuges operating, enrichment amounts and the need for verification.”

Iran is expected to offer “to stop enriching uranium to levels of 20 percent purity, which international powers consider dangerously close to a weapons-grade capability,” agree to ship its stockpile of nuclear fuel to a third country for storage, open its nuclear facilities to more thorough international inspections, and close the enrichment facility near Qom.

The offer is set to create some divisions between the US and its Mideast allies — especially Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — which have warned against easing sanctions and making hasty gestures toward the Islamic Republic.

The world powers, known as P5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, are also somewhat divided in the approach to take with Tehran.

Russia and China have long argued that sanctions should be scaled back, while the UK has urged that Iran first take concrete steps to slow its nuclear drive.

Reports of an Iranian willingness to compromise come amid an ostensible thawing in US-Iran relations in the wake of conciliatory gestures made by both sides at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York last month.

The mutual show of receptivity culminated in a historic, 15-minute phone conversation between the recently elected President Hassan Rouhani and US President Barack Obama — the first direct contact between the two countries’ presidents in 34 years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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