But in what some commentators are calling a vindication of President Barack Obama's willingness to engage directly with Iran, the country promised at the end of the meeting to send "most" of its existing stockpile of LEU – reportedly about 2,600 pounds of the 3,200-pound total – for processing abroad, according to European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
The fuel would be enriched further in Russia, sent on to France for further technical modifications and then be returned to Iran enriched to a level sufficient to help run its small reactor for producing medical isotopes but well below the level required to make a nuclear bomb.
Iran has agreed 'in principle'
The agreement for now is "in principle" and there are no guarantees that Iran will follow through. But if it does, it will mark the first significant step in at least a decade that the country will have taken away from the capacity to make a bomb. On the US side, the demand that Iran give up its enrichment program entirely before progress can be made appears to have been shelved.
Juan Cole, a Middle East expert at the University of Michigan and a sharp Bush critic, borrowed a phrase from online gaming culture in his blog Friday, saying Obama had "pwned" former President Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney with their "axis of evil" rhetoric. (For an interesting side-story on the word 'pwn' and how it came to be, see the Urban Dictionary.)