Iran and the United States have tentatively agreed on a formula that Washington hopes will reduce Tehran’s ability to make nuclear arms by committing it to ship to Russia much of the material needed for such weapons, diplomats say.
The mentioned “material” is enriched uranium, produced by Iran.
This will mean that should there be a final nuclear accord with Iran, majority of its enriched uranium would be shipped to Russia. Consequently there will not be any sufficient amount of enriched uranium at one time in Iran which would enable it to make a nuclear weapon, if and when it decides to do so.
The other reason is that Iran needs to convert its enriched uranium to fuel for its Russian made nuclear reactors.
Why would Iran agree to take such a step?
One reason could be to allay fears that it wants to make nuclear weapons.
But another important reason is because Russian reactors in most cases only take Russian made nuclear fuel. Thats how they are designed. In fact using non Russian fuel for Russian made reactors could:
“trigger a nuclear accident”.
The Russians gave this warning to the Ukrainians after the latter reached a deal to buy US made nuclear fuel for its Soviet era nuclear reactors.
So this is something Iran would have had to do anyway. But the argument could also be made that allaying western fears regarding a bomb is a major part of Iran’s motivation, because if Iran didn’t want to allay such fears, it could have agreed to ship out the enriched uranium in smaller batches to Russia. This would have given Iran the option to have enough enriched uranium on its soil to make a weapon, if and when it decided to do so. In fact this is one of the reasons why the US and Russia rejected the 2010 Turkey – Brazil brokered deal for Iran’s nuclear program.
The news tonight is one small step forward. Lets not get too excited. There have been too many false starts. Its not over until Kerry and Zarif sing.