ALSO IN THURSDAY FORECAST

IAEA Says Iran Slows Nuclear Program in Key Areas
Former Obama Administration Official Reveals Details of Geneva Nuclear Deal?

The Rouhani Government has kept nuclear talks on track, following this week’s clash between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry over the last-minute failure to reach an interim deal in Geneva at the weekend.

Deputy Foreign Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Wednesday, “If the opposing side is not greedy, Tehran will respond with positive actions.”

He added, “Some of the P5+1 member states showed their stances and the Iranian negotiations team did not move its needle outside of the principles of dignity, wisdom, and its interests.”

The Government received full support from key businessman Asadollah Asgarouladi, “We cannot cut relations with northwestern Europe and America for a long period of time because the Imam [Khomeini] also said that ‘we cannot be cut from them until Judgment. One day they must understand that we are right and acknowledge this righteousness and [then] we will begin with them.’”

Asgarouladi explained the developments at Geneva, “The negotiations process is good. On the first day one cannot say yes. A bride saying yes also requires a few visits.”


IAEA Says Iran Slows Nuclear Program in Key Areas

In its latest quarterly report, the International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran has held up development of its nuclear program in key areas.

The Agency says that, while enrichment of both 5% and 20% has continued at previous rates, Tehran has not put its new IR-2M centrifuges — replacing its 40-year-old IR-1 models — into operation, and no more have been installed since August. The IAEA also reports that “no additional components” have been placed in the Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor, due to come on-line in late 2014.

Critics argue that the IR-2M centrifuges would accelerate Iran’s production of 20% uranium, which potentially could be elevated farther to the 90% level needed for military programs. They also allege that plutonium by-product from Arak could be put to military use.

The IAEA said Iran’s stock of 20% uranium in the form of uranium hexaflouride is 196 kilograms, still well below the 250 kilograms which could be potentially be used for one nuclear bomb. Tehran has added only 10 kilograms since August.

Former Obama Administration Official Reveals Details of Geneva Nuclear Deal?

A former Obama Administration official, testifying before a Congressional committee, appears to have revealed details of the interim nuclear deal almost signed at Geneva last weekend.

Colin Kahl, who was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday that the first phase of the deal would be for six months.

Iran would suspend 20% enrichment of uranium, neutralize its 20% stockpile, refrain from building fuel assemblies at the still-under-construction Arak heavy-water reactor and from installing new centrifuges, allow more inspections of nuclear facilities, and restrict the growth of 3.5% uranium stock.

In return, Iran would receive under $10 billion in sanctions relief, including on the automobile, gold and petrochemical industries, and access to approximately $3 billion in hard currency assets frozen in banks abroad.

Far more restrictive oil and banking sanctions would not be eased in the first phase.

Kahl said the interim deal would have meant “it would take Iran twice as long” to produce enough highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb.

The deal stalled last Saturday when French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius raised objections to recognition of Iran’s right to enrich and to construction of the Arak reactor.

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