The EU’s Lady Ashton is scheduled to meet in Washington Friday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss the Iran developments, among other issues.
In another move aimed at Europe, and which also sought to portray Iran as a hard bargainer before any impending talks, Tehran suggested to six European countries still importing Iranian oil – France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, and Portugal – that it might start cutting back on oil shipments. Just last month the EU approved an embargo on Iranian oil imports, to take effect in July after current contracts expire.
One Iranian press service initially announced that shipments to the six countries had been stopped. The report sent the price of oil to a six-month high of $119 a barrel.
In Iran, announcement of Mr. Jalili’s letter of acceptance was buried under Iran’s chest-thumping over several advances in the country’s uranium enrichment capabilities.
Official reports claimed that the country’s first domestically produced fuel rods were installed at an aging, American-made research reactor north of Tehran. The reactor, used to create medical isotopes, requires 20 percent enriched uranium fuel, which is also required for producing the highly enriched uranium – 90 percent purity – needed for a uranium-fueled nuclear weapon.