Jeffrey LewisParis Negotiations Update 15: What are 20 Centrifuges Among Friends?

  • “Deal Imperiled as Iran Hesitates” (Washington Post)
  • “Iranians Refuse to Terminate Nuclear Plans” (New York Times)
  • “Iran: Nuclear resolution unacceptable” (CNN)
  • “Iran says European position at nuclear talks still unacceptable” (AFP)
  • “Diplomats Say Iran Uranium Deal Salvaged” (AP)
  • “EU Stands Firm on Nuclear Freeze, Iran Backs Down” (Reuters)

Confusing, huh?

The Washington Post and New York Times stories are behind the news cycle. But they capture the essence of the disagreement: Tehran has demanded an exemption to operate 20 enrichment centrifuges for research purposes.

//Update: Mike Levi says the Post was ready to “write a story about how the Iranians had made the ‘monitor but don’t seal’ offer. But things became such a mess by the evening that [Dafna Linzer] wrote a simpler story.” Fair enough.//

The CNN and AFP reports are based on comments made by Iranian FM Kharrazi, reported by IRNA. Kharrazi simply repeated Iran’s position that “the 20 centrifuges be allowed to continue operating.”

Diplomats in Vienna, however, are telling AP and Reuters. that a deal has been worked out:

One of the diplomats told The Associated Press that under the compromise, Iran would give up its insistence that 20 centrifuges be exempted from a total freeze of all uranium enrichment activities.

But instead of accepting seals from the International Atomic Energy Agency on the equipment, the centrifuges would be monitored for inactivity by IAEA cameras, said the diplomat, who is familiar with Iran’s nuclear dossier and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The question is whether this will go too far for the United States. Anyway, this all has to wait for Monday.

Until then, Global Security Newswire has a good summary.