Iran Steadfast, US Open to Compromise ahead of Nuclear Talks

Compromise is apparently happening in the Iran-world powers’ nuclear talks, but it doesn’t appear to be all that mutual. The Iranian parliament didn’t want to leave things open to interpretation, and so they recently issued a statement that clarified their desires for the negotiations: don’t budge.

While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran—according to a US official—has downsized their nuclear capabilities as part of the interim nuclear deal, reaching a permanent agreement will be a challenge. The Iranian Fars News Agency reported that the Iranian parliament’s statement called upon the negotiators not to relinquish anything of their nuclear “rights”, specifically the creation of nuclear fuel through uranium enrichment. But while Iran doesn’t want to move on this one, the US has signaled they might.

In a press briefing released by the US State Department, a senior administration official said that “In terms of enrichment, it’s the US position that the best answer for Iran to have an exclusively peaceful program is not to have a domestic enrichment program.” That sounds pretty cut and dry—and coincides with Israel’s position as well.

There’s just one problem: The US isn’t as steadfast as Iran is on this issue.

“We understand that Iran feels very strongly about their desire for a domestic enrichment program,” said the US official. “The Joint Plan of Action envisions that a domestic enrichment program can be a subject of discussion that we would all have to agree to, and if we all did agree to it, it would be because such a program was quite limited under heavy monitoring and verification for very specific purposes.”

So the Iranians don’t want to compromise at all, and the Americans are saying that while it’s best if they do, it’s on the table for discussion.

One has to wonder what else could meet that fate. Could the US decide not to put in the level of safeguards needed? What about limiting the enrichment program to keep Iran from being just months or weeks away from nuclear weapons capability?

Over the next six months or so, we’ll find out.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, March 17, 2014)

What do you think?