Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Behind the scenes: reducing the nuclear risk in Iran

Time has a great article about the behind the scenes diplomacy that the Obama administration initiated several months ago to turn Iran's existing supply of nuclear material into a safer form that could be used for medical purposes:
In early July, Obama traveled to Moscow, where his top nonproliferation aide, Gary Samore, floated a proposal to the Russians: If Iran would agree to export a supply of LEU to Moscow, the Russians could enrich it to the level needed to power the research reactor, and then the French, who had been brought into the discussions, could turn it into the specialized plates that are used to produce the isotopes. The plates, which Iran does not have the capacity to turn into weapons-grade uranium, would then be sent back to Tehran. "The Russians immediately said, 'Great idea,' " says the senior Administration official.
The deal continues to move forward, with Iranian negotiators agreeing to the deal today. Final approval from Tehran is still needed.

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