Iranian Official: No Nuclear Site Will Be Closed

Ever tried to compromise with someone, only to realize they are sticking fast to their side and aren’t planning on conceding? That’s what appears to be happening in the nuclear talks between Iran and the major world powers. While Iran made minor concessions in exchange for sanctions relief, reaching a permanent deal will be much tougher.

Underscoring that are comments from Iran’s deputy foreign minister saying that Iran isn’t going to budge on some key Western demands in the nuke talks.

Fars News Agency reported that Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi said, “No nuclear site will be closed and enrichment of uranium will continue as Iran’s inalienable right.”

Both points are likely to prevent a full agreement with the West. For one thing, the West is very concerned about the Arak heavy water reactor, a device that would enable Iran to develop the nuclear fuel needed for a bomb. Similarly, the underground Fordo nuclear fuel plant is also worrisome, because it’s harder to attack if Iran were to transform its civilian facilities into military ones (which wouldn’t take long).

Why does Iran need an underground nuclear fuel plant anyway, if it’s strictly peaceful in its intentions?

The nuclear fuel arena is one where Iran made some minor compromises in the current deal, but the West will surely hope for better long-term restrictions to prevent Iran from shifting to a military nuclear program.

Meanwhile, PressTV reported that Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi told Iranian Air Force commanders and personnel that Iran wasn’t about to roll back their supposedly peaceful nuclear program. In fact, he claimed they’d do more.

“Not only will the Islamic Republic of Iran not retreat in the nuclear technology arena, but it will work at a faster pace to [boost] the quality and application of this technology,” Salehi was quoted as saying.

What’s more, even the concessions Iran has made with regards to their program aren’t irreversible. Salehi said they can return to their previous nuclear activities “in a matter of hours.”

So don’t expect Iran to budge much in the nuclear talks, and it turns out their past compromises aren’t such a big deal. In short, the West needs to take a tough line with Iran and be prepared to intensify the pressure on them. Despite the reports of good will, Iran continues to deny or contradict the West’s hopes.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, February 10, 2014)

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