May 26, 2015
|Image credit: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)|
On Sunday, media reported that six world powers reached a provisional agreement on key parts of a deal that is meant to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.
Western diplomats in Switzerland reported that Iran had “more or less” agreed to reduce the number of its centrifuge machines by more than two-thirds and to ship abroad most of its stockpile of nuclear material. Iranian diplomats immediately denied the reports and said that they were ‘pure journalistic speculation.’ Israeli radio Reshet Beth quoted the head of Iranian team as saying that Iran categorically rejects any exporting of their stockpiles.
Later, a French official in Lausanne angrily knocked down the report and said it was totally false. The New York Times also confirmed the Reshet Beth report and quoted Iranian official Abbas Araqchi, who said “The export of stocks of enriched uranium is not in our program, and we do not intend sending them abroad. There is no question of sending the stocks abroad.”
“The revelation that Iran is now insisting on retaining the fuel could raise a potential obstacle at a critical time in the talks. And for critics of the emerging deal in Congress, in Israel and in Sunni Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, the prospect of leaving large amounts of nuclear fuel in Iran, in any form, is bound to intensify their already substantial political opposition”, The New York Times reported.
Israeli officials reacted to the developments in Switzerland by issuing sharply-worded statements. One official described the terms of the looming agreement as “incomprehensibly” bad and rejected the Obama administration’s contention that it would keep the regime a year away from accumulating enough fissile material for a bomb.