The United States and its allies are reportedly preparing a new offer to dissuade Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Much has changed since a year ago, when the international community made its last offer. Or has it?
Once again, the United States and its allies are readying an offer to Iran that supports the peaceful use of nuclear materials but denies Tehran the ability to build a nuclear bomb. The international community went through this a year ago and failed. Will this time prove any different?
Last October, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany, offered a fuel-swap deal that would allow Iran to send low-enriched uranium to other countries in return for more enriched nuclear fuel. The returned, upgraded fuel would serve medical research, but would not be able to be enriched for a weapon.
A tentative agreement was reached, but ultimately rejected by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This year’s offer, according to media reports, would require more uranium to be sent out of the country for processing because Iran has, in the meantime, produced more of it.
The potential game changer since last fall is a new round of sanctions against Iran that was approved by the UN Security Council in June. The sanctions, which targeted Iran’s military and nuclear programs, are starting to bite.