US newspapers, recapping the failure of the discussions on uranium enrichment in Istanbul, seem to be oblivious to the core issue.
We reported yesterday, drawing from information from Reuters, that the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China) appear to have put a much tougher proposal to Iran than the offer in October 2009, which led to weeks of negotiations before stalling.
In the talks 15 months ago, the 5+1 asked that Tehran send 60% of its low-enriched uranium, which is about 3.5% quality, to Russia and France — later Russia and Turkey — for processing. In this weekend’s discussions, the 5+1 proposed that Iran send about 90% of its low-enriched uranium abroad. In addition, Iran would have to send all or almost all of its 20% quality uranium, which it began producing last year, to other countries.
If Reuters’ information is correct, I would suggest that this is probably a leading reason why Iran, who entered the talks asking that all of the uranium stay inside the country for processing, and the 5+1 did not exactly advance towards an agreement.