Iran’s “New Deal” on its Nuclear Stockpile: A Real Turkey

James Phillips /

Iran announced today that it had reached an agreement with Turkey and Brazil to exchange some of its stockpile of low enriched uranium for more highly enriched uranium that can be used to fuel its research reactor in Tehran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the controversial deal in a three way press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Tehran. Under the proposed deal, Iran would send 1200 kilograms (2,646 pounds) of low enriched uranium to Turkey within a month in return for 120 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium that would be delivered within a year, ostensibly to fuel a medical research reactor.

This last-minute deal does not satisfy the longstanding demands of the U.N. Security Council for Iran to halt its uranium enrichment activities, but would help Tehran by throwing a monkey wrench into U.S. and European diplomatic efforts to impose another round of U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran. Tehran’s latest ploy is entirely consistent with its past strategy for minimizing the international reaction to its nuclear defiance: “cheat, retreat, and delay.” By trumpeting a cosmetic deal that does not address the central problem of Iran’s continued uranium enrichment, Tehran hopes to block another round of sanctions by strengthening the cynical argument, made by Russia and China, that imposing sanctions now will obstruct diplomatic “progress.” (more…)