Iran Affairs: The Twenty-Percent Solution with Iran that won’t work
The Twenty-Percent Solution with Iran that won’t work
Ivanka Barzashka and Ivan Oelrich have an article at the Federation of American Scientists’ blog entitled “The Twenty-Percent Solution” which recommends that the US accept Iran’s offer of a uranium-swap, if only as a test of Iranian intentions, since the terms required by Iran for the swap would still have the same benefits:
The Islamic Republic has agreed in principle to the IAEA-brokered deal of swapping domestic LEU for foreign-made TRR fuel rods and is still looking to purchase fuel. Moreover, Tehran has said that it will stop enrichment to high concentrations once a deal is struck and the suppliers deliver on it….
We propose the perfect litmus test for Iranian nuclear intensions. The international community should simply say “yes” and accept the terms of Tehran’s exchange proposal. The big achievement has already been made: getting Iran to agree to the fuel swap. This was a decision that met considerable domestic opposition within Iran. Leaving the LEU in Iran is not a dangerous concession and would not be a change from the current state of affairs since all of the nuclear material would remain under IAEA safeguards.
I am sure that the authors are excellent nuclear scientists but there’s a problem when scientists don’t understand politics. They don’t understand that the uranium swap offer made by the US was never intended to be accepted by Iran. Similarly, the offer made by Rice to Iran in the Bush administration — which required Iran to first suspend enrichment before the US would see fit to negotiate with Iran — was not intended to be accepted. These “offers” are pretextual, and are deliberately designed to be rejected by Iran so that the US can paint Iran as being “intrasigent” and having “spurned” Obama’s supposed attempt at engagement.
This is simply political theater, to justify a further escalation. Iran has already made far more significant compromise offers that would have addressed any real concern about nuclear weapons proliferation, and these offers have simply been ignored. So, no matter how many technical solutions to the standoff people like Barzashka and Oelrich, or Luers and Pickering, can come up with, they won’t work because one side to this standoff does not want to see it resolved and instead wants to deliberately and artificially create a crisis out of it.