Iran told the United Nations nuclear watchdog on Thursday that it would not accept a plan its negotiators agreed to last week to send its stockpile of uranium out of the country, according to diplomats speaking to the New York Times. According to the report, European and U.S. officials said that Iranian officials had refused to accept the central feature of the draft agreement: a provision that would have required Tehran to send about three-quarters of its current known stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia to be processed and returned for use in a reactor in Tehran used to make medical isotopes.
American officials said they thought that the accord would give them a year or so to seek a broader nuclear deal with Iran while defusing the possibility that Israel might try to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. The American daily said the Obama administration was anticipating that Iran would seek to back out of the deal. A senior European official characterized the Iranian response as “basically a refusal.” The Iranians, he said, want to keep all of their lightly enriched uranium in the country until receiving fuel bought from the West for the reactor in Tehran.
“The key issue is that Iran does not agree to export its lightly enriched uranium,” the official said. “That’s not a minor detail. That’s the whole point of the deal.”