Israeli official: Tehran will offer to cease 20% enrichment, slow down work in Arak in return for sanctions relief; US official: Washington willing to offer “reversible sanctions relief” in exchange for “first steps” on nuclear program.
Israel urges world powers to reject a deal Iran is planning on presenting to world powers in nuclear talks in Geneva on Thursday, offering to partly cut back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, AFP reported on Wednesday evening.
“Israel in the last few hours has learned that a proposal will be brought before the P5+1 in Geneva in which Iran will cease all enrichment at 20 percent and slow down work on the heavy water reactor in Arak, and will receive in return the easing of sanctions,” an Israeli official told AFP.
He went on to say Jerusalem considers this a bad deal, and “will oppose it strongly.”
According to the official, the P5+1 group was in a position of strength, as Western sanctions were crippling the Iranian economy.
“Iran is feeling the pressure and the P5+1 has the capability to compel Iran to end all enrichment and to stop construction of the facility in Arak,” he said.
Earlier on Wednesday, a senior US official said that Washington was willing to offer Tehran “very limited, temporary, reversible sanctions relief” in return for the Islamic Republic making a “first step” that stops its nuclear program advancing further and starts reversing parts of it.
“What we’re looking for is a first phase, a first step, an initial understanding that stops Iran’s nuclear program from moving forward and rolls it back for first time in decades,” the Obama administration official told reporters.
This phase must involve levels of Iran’s uranium enrichment, its stockpiles of the material as well as international monitoring, the official said.
“We’re looking for ways to put additional time on the clock,” the administration official added.
Such a first step by Tehran, which denies seeking the capability to make nuclear weapons, would create space for further negotiations on a comprehensive settlement, the official said.
Iran says it is enriching uranium for peaceful energy and medical purposes only. But its refusal to curb sensitive nuclear activity that can also have military applications has drawn sanctions, damaging its oil-dependent economy.
The P5+1 includes the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, Russia, France, United States and China – as well as Germany.
The world powers will meet with the Iranian nuclear team in Geneva on Thursday and Friday for the second round of nuclear talks since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was elected in June.