Gibbs: Why Would the New Iran Nuke Move Scuttle the Sanctions Process?
Building on his previous noncommittal statement about Iran’s declared deal to send most of its uranium to Turkey for enrichment, Robert Gibbs was a human dose of Ativan during his press briefing this afternoon when asked if the move scuttles the United States’ delicately cobbled sanctions effort at the United Nations Security Council:
Q You’re not concerned at this point that this is going to unravel the whole deal?
MR. GIBBS: No. Again, I think there’s — as I said, there are certain steps that would certainly be progress. I think it’s important to understand what this proposal signifies is less than what they agreed to last October — an understanding that the words and the deeds of the Iranian leadership rarely coincide. So I think before we have — I think we have to get — the international community has to see the proposal in its detail through the IAEA before it can make a final determination.
Notice the burden shifting back to Iran. Gibbs continued:
Q Just the fact that Iran appears to be agreeing to something, even though you want more information to be sent to the IAEA, is this a step in the right direction?
MR. GIBBS: Well, again, I’m reticent to — well, even as I said — if they were to make good on this and ship out 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, yes, that would represent progress. But, again, Dan, I think it is important to understand that this is less than — this agreement is — or proposal is less than what they agreed to last October. And understand that even though they agreed to this last October, it never came to pass because they changed their mind. So that’s why I say the words and the deeds of the leadership in Iran have rarely coincided.
That’s similar to a preliminary conclusion reached by the Institute for Science and International Security, which finds “no reason to stop negotiating in the Security Council the imposition of sanctions on Iran”:
Such an exchange of LEU [Low-Enriched Uranium] today, however, would take place today under very different circumstances. Iran has continued to enrich uranium in the intervening seven months. Iran has also begun its own effort at the Natanz Pilot Enrichment Plant to produce 20 percent enriched uranium (the level needed for the Tehran Research Reactor), announced plans to deploy a more advanced centrifuge, and start building two more centrifuge plants without notifying the IAEA until late in the construction process. Additional outstanding issues with the IAEA also remain. In particular, despite repeated requests, Iran continues to be uncooperative with the IAEA on implementing more effective safeguards and answering questions about its alleged work on researching the design and delivery of nuclear warheads.