The United States government may agree to allow limited uranium enrichment by Iran for the country’s nascent nuclear program, as long as Tehran undertakes measures to scale back its ambitions of building an atomic bomb.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, officials of the U.S. government said they may permit Iran to enrich uranium up to the 5 percent concentration, provided the Iranians submit to unrestricted inspections of their nuclear sites and agree to tough oversight and safeguarding rules.
Since February 2010, Iranian nuclear scientists have been enriching modest amounts of uranium up to 20 percent purity, while the majority of its stockpile is purified at lower concentrations. (At the 90 percent enrichment level, uranium can be used as a bomb fuel).
In the event the U.S. follows through with its new concession, allies in western Europe and especially Israel would likely be outraged. On the other hand, the Times noted, western officials likely feel that there is no way to stop Iran’s enrichment program -- so, by permitting them to purify uranium at low concentrations, a compromise may be reached between all parties.
Iran and six other world powers, including the U.S., will resume nuclear negotiations in Baghdad, Iraq on May 23.
Meanwhile, Israel continued beating the war drums with respect to Iran.
Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, again declared that Iranian leaders were not rational in the Western sense of the word” -- refuting recent statements by the chief of the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. General Benny Gantz.
Barak reiterated his fears that Iran was seeking to build a nuclear bomb and plans to destroying Israel with it.
The defense minister also expressed his skepticism over nuclear talks with Iran and the efficacy of western sanctions.
The sanctions today are harsher that in the past, he said.
But the truth must be told. The chance that, at this level of pressure, Iran will meet the international demand to stop the program irrevocably -- that chance appears to be low.