Here's the offer, for now, from the U.S. on Iran's nuclear program: If Iran is willing to put the brakes on its nuclear program for six months, the U.S. will lift some sanctions against the country temporarily. That deal, according to a senior administration official speaking to reporters, will be offered in the next round of impending international nuclear talks involving Iran.
The official noted that the idea is a "first step" towards a "permanent" agreement on Iran's program, the goal of current negotiations between Iran and several international powers, including the U.S.. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani as implied previously that his administration is amenable to a long-term deal that would lift sanctions against the country in exchange for some agreement on its nuclear program. Rouhani says that the program is peaceful, but it has long been assumed that the country's enrichment of uranium could also provide Iran with a nuclear weapon. The official said, according to Haaretz:
“What we're looking for is a first phase, a first step, an initial understanding that stops Iran's nuclear program from moving forward and rolls it back for first time in decades. We're looking for ways to put additional time on the clock."
The U.S.'s offer would be "very limited, temporary, reversible sanctions relief,” but a relief nonetheless for Iran. In exchange, the U.S. wants an agreement that "stops Iran's nuclear program from moving forward and rolls it back for first time in decades." The agreement would pertain to its levels of uranium enrichment, its stockpiles, and its international oversight, according to Reuters. The sanctions against the country are in response to Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear activities that could leave it capable of producing a nuclear weapon.
The senior administration official also responded to some congressional calls to impose more sanctions on Iran with, essentially a request that congress please not do that right now. New sanctions at this point in the negotiations, unsurprisingly, would not make it easy to move forward on an agreement between Iran and the international community, the official stressed.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.