It looks very much like the end of a brief Indian summer for Iranian diplomacy. It began almost exactly a month ago when negotiators in Geneva defied expectations and appeared to make progress.
There were many at the time who saw the very idea of Iranian nuclear compromises as a mirage, and it now seems they may have been right. Iran has pulled back from two agreements in principle made on that sunny afternoon on October 1 in a Swiss lakeside villa.
According to Tehran's delayed response to the International Atomic Energy Agency, it wants the international community keep its side of the bargain - to deliver fuel rods for its research reactor. But the Iranian government has said, in effect, it does not want to do its part – deliver the bulk of its low enrichment uranium (LEU) up front in exchange. Instead it wants to hand over the
uranium in batches as the fuel rods are delivered.
In that scenario, Iran's stockpile of LEU – currently enough to make a bomb – is not reduced, even for a few months. There is no diplomatic dividend, in the form of reduced tensions and negotiating space.
At the same time, Iran is saying it is no longer interested in keeping the appointment it made in Geneva to discuss its nuclear programme in more depth before the end of Octobe... >>>
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