According to a report in the New York Times, which has attracted significant media coverage in Israel, Iran has made a tentative proposal to curb its nuclear development in a plan that the United States views as unworkable.
Apparently, Iranian officials used last week’s gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in New York as an opportunity to communicate a ‘nine point plan’ to the United States. However, the step-by-step plan details only a “suspension” of medium-enriched uranium production, which would come into effect only after the cessation of all international sanctions on Tehran.
According to the report, the plan is viewed as totally unworkable by the White House, which wants to see the sanctions remain in place until medium-enriched uranium is stopped and a final deal reached. A senior official in the Obama administration is quoted responding to the Iranian plan saying, “They could restart the program in a nanosecond. They don’t have to answer any questions from the inspectors…. Yet we’re supposed to lift sanctions that would take years to re-impose, if we could get countries to agree.”
However, the fact that the Iranians are apparently considering a deal over their nuclear programme is viewed as a possible indication that the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is feeling the pressure of economic sanctions which have seen the Iranian currency plummet and crowds take to the streets of Tehran in protest.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reports that former US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates has cautioned against the prospect of Israeli or American military action against Iran over its nuclear programme, saying that it could “prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world.”