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US official: Iran using negotiations to buy time

Washington joins Israel in calling out Tehran for using talks as a delay tactic

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Negotiators from the US and five other world powers arrive at Baghdad International Airport for talks with Iranian diplomats last month. (photo credit: AP/Mohammed Ameen)
Negotiators from the US and five other world powers arrive at Baghdad International Airport for talks with Iranian diplomats last month. (photo credit: AP/Mohammed Ameen)

The US believes Iran is negotiating to buy time for its nuclear program, according to an American diplomatic source quoted by Israel Radio Monday morning.

The official, who was not named, said the US and Israel are in lockstep on the issue.

According to the report, Washington believes there is still enough time to stop Iran’s nuclear program through sanctions, but US officials also recognize that Iran was negotiating for time, rather than a real solution, in the recent meetings with the West.

Israeli officials have spent the last several months decrying the talks as a stalling tactic for Iran.

On Friday, the chief US negotiator in recent talks between Iran and West, Wendy Sherman, visited Israel to discuss coordination on efforts to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

A spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry said his country would be willing to stop high-grade uranium enrichment over 20 percent, if the West would be willing to accept Iran’s right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes. Simultaneously, Iran announced it planned to build two more nuclear plants.

The report comes days after talks between Iran and Western countries ended in a deadlock and as highly enriched uranium was found at the Fordo nuclear site, a find that suggested Iran was moving towards weaponization.

More talks between Iran and the West are scheduled to take place in Moscow in June.

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