Iran Eyes More Western Nuclear Concessions

Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

The offer from the major world powers to Iran during the last round of negotiations over the latter’s nuclear program was presented by Iran as moving towards Tehran’s position, but the Islamic Republic isn’t content with the West’s compromises just yet. A senior Iranian diplomat was quoted by the Fars News Agency as saying that the global powers “withdrew from its previous positions” in the talks in February, “but its proposals are not yet desirable for Tehran.”

The P5+1—the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany—said they offered Iran a “revised” proposal in the last round of talks. The Iranian diplomat told Fars it did include compromises on Iran’s development of nuclear fuel, but left Iran seeking more from the powerful group.

He said the P5+1 “gave up its previous position which called for a complete halt of [Iran’s] enrichment and centrifuges building and included the threat of [imposing] crippling sanctions.”

Iran’s nuclear fuel process, which continues to be enhanced with the increase in the number and quality of centrifuges that enrich uranium, has long been a concern for the West. Lower levels of uranium enrichment are used for nuclear power and mid-levels for medical research, but can be further enriched to weapons-grade. The enrichment process is one of the longest steps towards nuclear weapons. However, once it reaches the research-level, the fuel is well on its way to the level needed for weapons-grade.

The diplomat’s comments on Sunday wanting more from the P5+1 parallel statements made by the Iranian Supreme Leader.  The Center for Preserving and Publishing the Works of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei quoted the Iranian leader as saying a couple weeks ago that “in this meeting, westerners did not do anything especial which can be considered as a concession. Rather, they merely acknowledged part of the Iranian nation’s rights.”

The sides had been set to have experts’ level meetings this week with another round of political-level talks in early April.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, March 18, 2013)