The White House on Thursday firmly rejected the notion that Iran’s agreement to move low-enriched uranium off its soil, a deal Iran negotiated earlier this week with Turkey and Brazil, was sufficient to get the P-5+1 group of nuclear and developed countries to drop its pursuit of sanctions.
At a briefing the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said it was important to understand that “the proposal that Iran says they have entered into now is less than what they agreed to eight months ago”.
He argued that Iran had not agreed now, as it had in October, to sit down with the P-5+1 to hold a broader, fuller discussion about its nuclear program, nor had it agreed to provide unfettered access to nuclear facilities such as Qom. Additionally, “The proposal does not address in any form the increased enrichment that Iran said it was undertaking in order to provide material for their research reactor,” Mr. Gibbs said.
All these differences between what Iran was presently offering and its statements last October implied, Mr. Gibbs suggested, that the efforts of the Turks and the Brazilians did not address “all of the concerns that the P-5+1 and the larger international community have with Iran’s nuclear programme”. However he added that he acknowledged the role that Turkey and Brazil had played in “trying to get Iran to live up to its obligations”.
Mr. Gibbs nevertheless admitted that the proposal that was outlined on Monday “would be a step in the right direction because of the amount of low-enriched uranium that would be transferred [out of Iran],” – even if the last eight months have seen Iran continue with “increased enrichment” of uranium.
Regarding the discussions on sanctions currently underway at the United Nations Security Council, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said, “The resolution that has been tabled is now being evaluated by the entire Security Council, and we will continue to consult broadly on its particulars in the coming days and weeks.”
He added that the United States was “still looking for and expects support within the Council for a new sanctions resolution, and as we have said many, many times, that not only with existing measures, but adding new measures and new teeth to this”.
To a question from The Hindu on what the U.S. had to say to countries such as India and others in the G-15 group who may be friendly with Iran and felt the fuel swap deal was a sign of Iran’s willingness to cooperate, Mr. Crowley said, “We would expect all countries in the world to live up to their international obligations.”