According to a former top Iranian negotiator, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, in 2005 Iran offered a deal to the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom that would have made it impossible for Iran to build nuclear weapons. At that time, Iran did not have the capability to fabricate fuel rods. The offer included the plan to ship its uranium to an “agreed upon country” for enrichment in exchange for yellowcake, the raw material used to make fuel rods. Once uranium is fabricated into fuel rods, it is practically impossible to reconvert for military purposes. As Gareth Porter reports for Consortium News, Mousavian’s account makes it clear that President George W. Bush’s administration “refused to countenance any Iranian enrichment capability, regardless of the circumstances.”
The French and German governments were prepared at the time to discuss the offer and open up negotiations, but the UK vetoed the proposal at the insistence of the United States. “They were ready to compromise but the US was an obstacle,” Mousavian reported in his 2012 memoir, The Iranian Nuclear Crisis.
The continuation of these negotiations could have headed off the current political crisis over the Iranian nuclear program, if not eliminated the threat of war and the strain of strict economic sanctions.
After the US and the UK rejected the offer, the European Union stated that more time was required to consider the proposal, but Mousavian’s team learned later that the EU had no intention of revisiting the proposal.
Mousavian quoted Francois Nicoullaud, the French ambassador to Iran, as saying that “for the United States the enrichment in Iran is a red line the EU cannot cross.” British representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Peter Jenkins recalled that “the British objective was to eliminate entirely Iran’s enrichment capability,” at the urging of the United States. One proposal placed a ceiling on the number of centrifuges and the scale of production so that it remained well below the levels necessary for the production of weaponry. Then British and American teams ignored these negotiations to put pressure on Iran with the threat of referral to the United Nations Security Council. As Iranian presidential elections approached, the talks were abandoned.
Now a visiting research scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Mousavian was arrested by the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad administration on charges of espionage in April 2007.
Bush Blocked Iran Nuclear Deal
Gareth Porter, “Bush Blocked Iran Disarmament Deal,” Consortium News, June 6, 2012, http://consortiumnews.com/2012/06/06/bush-blocked-iran-nuke-deal/.
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