Chief negotiator for Iran says it could accept deal halting enrichment

Faced with a looming deadline next week, Iran’s Chief Negotiator Abbas Araqchi has conceded to a vital portion of the proposed deal between the P5+1 Powers and Iran, stating they could accept a deal that would freeze their capacity to produce nuclear fuel at current levels for many years, provided that after this the program would be treated like any other peaceful nuclear enterprise. The proposal was given to the six powers last night behind closed doors at the Vienna negotiations, and its stipulations include provisions for Iran to get tiered relief from sanctions that have nearly collapsed its economy.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif pitched the proposal as satisfying the American goal of limiting the amount and purity of nuclear fuel for a number of years, but also confirmed he is attempting to balance this goal with trying to satisfy military and clerical leadership in Iran, who are determined not to dismantle the Arak facility.

The breakthrough came after US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Javad Zarif yesterday after returning from Afghanistan. The number they eventually agreed upon was 9,400 centrifuges, which some critics say is not a significant enough reduction in the enrichment program and it would be easy to reverse the concession. But with Ayatollah Khamenei releasing public statements on the regular about never conceding to Western demands, the change in tone and consideration of the deal appears to be significant.

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