Report: US Proposes Sanctions Relief if Iran Cuts Back Somewhat on Enrichment
If the report proves to be true, it would be a huge victory for the ayatollahs in Tehran.
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
The Biden administration is hoping to break the nuclear deadlock with Iran by proposing Iran cut back on uranium enrichment in return for the U.S. easing some sanctions, the American news website Politico reported on Monday.
Two unnamed sources familiar with the proposal told Politico said Iran would have to agree to reduce only some of its illegal nuclear activity, giving the examples of stopping work on advanced centrifuges and dropping its enrichment of uranium to 20% purity.
In return, the U.S. would ease some of the harsh economic sanctions on Iran, but the details were not specified.
One source told Politico the specifics were still being worked out and Iran might not even accept the terms of the proposal, while the other source said the goal of the plan was “more than anything, about trying to get the conversation started.”
Biden administration officials are worried that the upcoming Iranian presidential election in June might result in a more extremist official taking over from the current president, Hassan Rouhani.
However, if the Politico report proves to be true, it would be a huge victory for the ayatollahs in Tehran who have been watching their nuclear program produce more highly enriched uranium for possible use in future nuclear weapons.
There was no indication in the report that Iran would have to remove the large quantity of 20% enriched uranium it now has in a gross violation of its international agreements.
Israel has said it objects to the U.S. returning to the nuclear deal without major changes to the agreement.
Iran has been demanding the U.S. remove all sanctions imposed during the Trump administration before it takes any step to reverse its uranium enrichment, and there is no sign that Iran would agree to the proposal.
In an e-mail to Politico, Iran’s spokesman at the UN, Shahrokh Nazemi, said that the “return of the US to the [nuclear deal] needs no specific proposal. It only requires a political decision by the U.S. to go for the full and immediate implementation of its obligations under” the agreement.
Biden and his top officials are on the record stating that sanctions against Iran will only be lifted when Iran returns to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
Administration officials also said they want to improve the deal, a step that the Iranians have categorically rejected.
For now, Iran continues to enrich uranium to a level that has only military use, and the economic sanctions remain in place with the Iranian economy in shambles, including raging inflation and shortages of products.
“The ball is really in their court to see if they want to take the path to diplomacy and returning to compliance with the agreement,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week.
“And should that happen, we would then seek, as we’ve said, to build a longer and stronger agreement, but also to engage on some of the other issues where Iran’s actions and conduct are particularly problematic: destabilization of countries in the region, ballistic missile program, et cetera.”
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