As we wait for Tehran’s response to the proposal from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, to remove low-enriched uranium (LEU) from Iran for further enrichment and fabrication into fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, it is important to understand the considerations that are shaping decision-making on the Iranian side. Hillary Mann Leverett offers her observations about the Iranian approach to Baradei’s proposal in a new piece, “Pragmatists in Iran”, published by Foreign Policy.com.
Iran originally proposed to buy fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor from international providers. There was clearly consensus support for this idea in Tehran leadership circles. The United States and other players responded with a “counter-proposal”, whereby Iran would ship most of its current stockpile of LEU out of the country for fabrication into fuel rods. The merits of this approach are very much a debatable proposition in Tehran. As Hillary points out, this debate has nothing to do with reformists vs. hardliners, or the pro-Ahmadinejad camp vs. the anti-Ahmadinejad camp. Fundamentally, this debate reflects a lack of confidence in Tehran about U.S. and Israeli intentions toward the Islamic Republic.
You can read Hillary’s piece here.
— Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett