Seven months after Iran satisfied international concerns by agreeing
to ship its uranium to Russia for enriching, but then reneged on the deal, Iran has agreed to ship its uranium
to Turkey for enriching. If it succeeds, this Brazil-brokered deal would
allow Iran to enrich uranium for nuclear power but would restrict its
ability to enrich uranium for nuclear weaponry. That would be good news
for the international community wary of an Iranian nuclear program, but
there are complications.
- The Details Foreign Policy's Joshua Keating has them. "Under the new deal,
negotiated at a three-way meeting including Brazilian President Luiz
Inacio Lula Da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
Iran would ship 2,640 pounds of low-enriched uranium to Turkey for
storage. In exchange, after one year Iran would be eligible to receive
265 pounds of material enriched in France and Russia. An Iranian foreign
ministry spokesman said the country would continue to enrich uranium on
its own, despite the new deal."
- The Turkey-Iran Relationship The New Republic's Michael Crowley's explores the country's ties. "Peacefully stopping an
Iranian bomb without Turkey’s help won’t be easy:
Turkey holds a seat on the U.N. Security Council until December and may
conduct as much as $20 billion in trade per year with its Persian
neighbor. Yet Turkey argues that sanctions will have little impact on
Iran while causing collateral damage to its own economy. After spending a
few days in the country, one also gets the feeling that the Turks don’t
mind forcing the United States to kowtow to them, rather than the other
- Could Hurt Sanctions Foreign Policy's Joshua Keating adds, "Iran's apparent cooperation with the new agreement could make it less
likely that Russia and China will support tougher sanctions against Iran
in the U.N. security council and puts President Barack Obama in the
awkward position of potentially rejecting a deal, nearly identical to
one he negotiated months earlier."
- Victory for Turkey Foreign Policy's Marc Lynch tweets, "I heard a lot about
this Iran nuclear fuel swap deal when I was in Turkey -- they at least
think it's for real. Iran fuel-swap deal
seems like big win for Turks (and to lesser extent Brazil) -- will U.S.
go for it? I say win for Turks bc I heard that Turkish FM
Davutoglu spent nearly 20 hours in direct, private talks w/Khamenei to
get nuke deal."
- Progress, but Not a Solution Middle East
blogger Gregg Carlstrom writes,
"the sanctions talk is unlikely to stop altogether: A nuclear fuel swap
was never meant to be the endpoint of negotiations; the 'P5+1 countries'
have always described it as a confidence-building measure, a concession
to pave the way for further talks on Iran's nuclear program. It's hard
to see the U.S. government abandoning its sanctions threats at this
- Too Late? Politico's Laura Rozen says the 7-month
delay matters. "One potential problem
is that back in October, removing 1200 kg of Iran's low enriched
uranium from its then-stockpile of 1800 kg of LEU would have given a few
months for negotiations to proceed without the pressure of Iran having
an immediate breakout capacity. Nine months later, Iran has accrued a bigger LEU
stockpile now estimated at 2300 kg; removing 1200 kg therefore leaves
Iran with 1100 kg, just enough for a breakout capacity."
- Why Turkey Is in the Middle Foreign Policy's Stephen Walt writes, "Turkey
is clearly trying to take advantage of its geographic position and its
political history to position itself as an omnipresent mediator between
various conflict regional actors. This idea led to earlier efforts to
mediate between Israel and Syria, as well as the more recent initiatives
toward Iran. Trying to place itself at the center of a web of different
regional actors and presenting one's self as the party able to speak to
all of them magnifies Turkey's importance and can enhance the
government's popularity at home, but sustaining that role over the
longer-term will depend on whether they can actually achieve results."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.