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The Race for Iran

Interpreting Iran’s Response

Hillary Mann Leverett has updated her article over at Foreign Policy, “Pragmatists in Tehran,” in light of Iran’s response yesterday to the IAEA.

From her analysis:

Tehran’s initial oral response to International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei’s proposal to send most of Iran’s current stockpile of low enriched uranium (LEU) abroad for processing into fuel rods for its reactor in Tehran, indicates three important things about the Islamic Republic’s strategic perspective. First, Iran is interested in establishing a framework for international cooperation to develop its civil nuclear program. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made this clear in an important speech on Oct. 29.

Second, Iran remains profoundly interested in creating a framework for broader strategic cooperation, especially with the United States. This has been a consistent objective in Iran’s interactions with the United States for several years, across ideologically diverse Iranian administrations, including the current Ahmadinejad administration.

Third, Iran might be willing to address international concerns about its nuclear program by sending portions of its LEU stockpile out of the country for futher, value-adding processing, in the process, making the management of the stockpile more transparent to the international community. However, Tehran will only do this if it is confident that other international parties will follow through on their commitments and that cooperation with those parties will not leave the Islamic Republic more vulnerable to international pressure.

You can read the entire article here.

– Ben Katcher

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