I spent most of the day making phone calls and have a pretty decent idea how the document hit the press. The important thing, as I noted yesterday, is that the document is the penultimate draft, rather than what the Iranians received.
For example, the draft document contains a reference to the “territorial integrity” of Iran—something that diplomats told Reuters is not part of the final package.
Enrichment In Iran?
The big question is whether the package will allow Iran to enrich uranium in Iran, or just in Russia. WaPo’s Karl Vick and Dafna Linzer broke this story, quoting an anonymous US official:
We are basically now saying that over the long haul, if they restore confidence, that this Iranian regime can have enrichment at home. But they have to answer every concern given all that points to a secret weapons program.
(State Department flack Sean McCormick managed to confirm the offer was “part of that package” while insisting that “we’re not going to talk about the details of what’s in the package.” Smooth.)
Now, this was a big story, given that the Administration officials had clearly stated that the US goal was the permanent cessation of all enrichment and reprocessing. Now we learn that there might be some conditions under which we would allow the Iranians to go hog wild with enrichment, namely:
- confirmation by the IAEA that all outstanding issues and other international concerns have been resolved and that it is in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear activities in Iran or diversion of nuclear materials;
- demonstration by Iran that any new activity in the nuclear field is linked to a credible and coherent economic rationale in support of the existing civilian power generation programme;
- and decisions by the IAEA BoG and UNSC that all of Iran’s obligations have been met and that international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s civil nuclear programme has been restored.
Helene Cooper dedicates several column inches of New York Times real estate to the lofty purpose of allowing anonymous Bush Administration officials to explain the novel concept of temporary permanence:
This is a small conceptual step because they accept the notion that someday in some circumstances—maybe in 30 years when the mullahs disappear—there could be the end of a moratorium.
Cooper might have pointed out that isn’t what the package actually says, which would suggest either the anonymous official isn’t telling the truth or the offer isn’t in good faith.
Um, guys, did we forget the Heavy Water Reactor?
Iran is building a heavy water reactor near Arak. Just in case you forgot the details, let me remind you:
Once fully operational, the Arak reactor can produce about nine kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium each year, or enough for about two nuclear weapons each year. Because of concerns about the potential misuse of this reactor, the IAEA’s Board of Governors called on Iran to halt construction of the Arak reactor in a resolution adopted February 4, 2006.
ISIS annotated a lovely photo essay.
You might think the Bush Administration would demand that Iran stop construction on this reactor—which Bob Joseph described as well suited and John Bolton as optimal for the production of weapons grade plutonium—especially given our offer to build Iran light-water reactors.
You’d be wrong.
Frankly, I am baffled that the Bush Administration would allow Iran to keep building the heavy water reactor near Arak.