Iran Talks: New Development Involving Russia Engenders Optimism

A new development in negotiations with Iran has provoked new optimism in a deal that had stagnated over after Tehran blocked IAEA access to select facilities. Iran has tentatively agreed to send the vast majority of its uranium to Russia, should a wider deal be reached with the West. Upon arrival in Moscow, the uranium would be converted into nuclear rods, making their use as a nuclear weapon a virtual impossibility.

The possibility that Iranian uranium ends up in Moscow is an enticing one to Western officials as it would allay fears among policymakers in Washington and Brussels that an unencumbered and emboldened Iran could still produce a nuclear weapon. Moreover, sending uranium to Russia instead of to one of the Western nations would save Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif from domestic criticism, given Russia’s current status as a pariah state vis-à-vis the United States and Europe.  The development, while potentially significant in facilitating a lasting agreement, is still contingent upon the signing of an agreement.

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