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Gibbs on Iran Nuke Deal: Continued Enrichment Sours ‘Vague’ Turkey/Brazil Deal « The Washington Independent

Sure enough, as soon as I run with my previous post on the Iran enrichment offer, here’s White House spokesman Robert Gibbs’s official comment. It’s fairly noncommittal. It doesn’t rule out the prospect that the foreign-enrichment deal might be substantive, but Gibbs highlights the concern the previous post did: that Iran appears to reserve the right to continue to pursue enrichment to a threshold state for a weapon (and for the technical side of why that is, check out Arms Control Wonk). As well, Gibbs wants more demonstration of why the deal can begin to settle Iran’s nuclear account without a new round of sanctions, and reiterates the U.S.’s commitment to diplomacy (i.e., not war not war not war) when it comes to that account.

So, at first blush, nothing really ruled in or ruled out. But judge for yourself. Gibbs:

We acknowledge the efforts that have been made by Turkey and Brazil. The proposal announced in Tehran must now be conveyed clearly and authoritatively to the IAEA before it can be considered by the international community. Given Iran’s repeated failure to live up to its own commitments, and the need to address fundamental issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, the United States and international community continue to have serious concerns. While it would be a positive step for Iran to transfer low-enriched uranium off of its soil as it agreed to do last October, Iran said today that it would continue its 20% enrichment, which is a direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions and which the Iranian government originally justified by pointing to the need for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. Furthermore, the Joint Declaration issued in Tehran is vague about Iran’s willingness to meet with the P5+1 countries to address international concerns about its nuclear program, as it also agreed to do last October.

The United States will continue to work with our international partners, and through the United Nations Security Council, to make it clear to the Iranian government that it must demonstrate through deeds – and not simply words – its willingness to live up to international obligations or face consequences, including sanctions. Iran must take the steps necessary to assure the international community that its nuclear program is intended exclusively for peaceful purposes, including by complying with U.N. Security Council resolutions and cooperating fully with the IAEA. We remain committed to a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear program, as part of the P5+1 dual track approach, and will be consulting closely with our partners on these developments going forward.

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