Iran’s fuel for conflict
LeMonde / Gareth Porter

Washington-Tehran nuclear deal hasn’t worked out

Iran’s fuel for conflict Barack Obama created the hope of a diplomatic breakthrough between the US and Iran after 30 years of enmity. Now talks between the West and Iran over nuclear issues have stalled and each side wants to claim a political victory rather than solve the problem by Gareth Porter

Talks between Tehran and the West were stalled for months over the question of uranium enrichment: Iran was allowed to do this under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) but forbidden to do so by UN Security Council resolutions. Then a possible solution emerged from an unexpected quarter. More than 40 years ago, the US had built a nuclear reactor in Tehran to produce radioisotopes for medical research. After the 1979 revolution and the severance of diplomatic relations with Washington, Iran had to look elsewhere for the supply of uranium enriched to 20% that it needed to operate this reactor. It obtained 23 kilograms from Argentina under an agreement signed in 1988, enough to feed the reactor until 2010.

With this date approaching, Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in June 2009, asking for help in purchasing fuel, which would be allowed under the provisions of the NNPT but would require that international sanctions against Iran’s nuclear... >>>

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