Washington, Oct. 28 (ANI): The Obama administration and its European allies are preparing a new offer for negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program, senior administration officials say.
The new offer would require Iran to send over 4,400 pounds of low-enriched uranium out of the country, an increase of more than two-thirds from the amount required under a tentative deal struck in Vienna a year ago.
The increase reflects the fact that Iran has steadily produced more uranium over the past year, and the American goal is to make sure that Iran has less than one bomb's worth of uranium on hand.
Iran would also have to halt all production of nuclear fuel that it is currently enriching to 20 percent - an important step on the way to bomb-grade levels. It would also have to make good on its agreement to negotiate on the future of its nuclear program.
According to the New York Times, Iran's reaction, officials say, will be the first test of whether a new and surprisingly broad set of economic sanctions is changing that country's nuclear calculus.
A senior American official said Wednesday that the United States and its partners were "very close to having an agreement" on a common position to present to Iran.
But he also said that the Iranians have not responded to a request from Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, to meet in Vienna in mid-November.
Iran is insisting that Ashton first tell them when sanctions would end, when Israel would give up what it called "the Zionist bomb" and when the United States would eliminate its nuclear weapons.
The failed 2009 accord was scuttled by hard-liners in Tehran. A later analysis by intelligence analysts concluded that Ayatollah Khamenei personally rejected the deal, reversing the judgment of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
For that reason, many officials suspect that this latest initiative is likely to fail. (ANI)