White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday that “the window is closing” for Iran to engage seriously with the international community over its suspected nuclear weapons programme. He also reiterated that “our bottom line, our position is that Iran must live up to its international obligations including the full suspension of uranium enrichment, as required by multiple UN Security Council resolutions.” He added, “We’re not setting in advance of this meeting any condition except for what our bottom line is, and that’s a bottom line shared internationally.”
The demand for complete cessation of uranium enrichment is tougher than that ascribed to the P5+1 in US media reports over the weekend. The New York Times reported that the P5+1 might allow Iran to maintain limited enrichment capacity in return for cessation of all enrichment above 3.5%, the closure of the Fordow facility where higher levels of enrichment are taking place, and the removal of existing stockpiles of enriched uranium.
Also speaking yesterday, the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili hinted at a possible Iranian compromise proposal, telling the Iranian state backed Press TV, “Iran’s representatives will participate in the negotiations with new initiatives and we hope that the P5+1 countries will also enter talks with constructive approaches.” However, the US and EU powers will be wary of Iranian proposals which initially sound promising but which on closer inspection, fail to address core issues. Iran has used such tactics in the past to divide the international community and prevaricate.