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25 March 2017 11:39 (South Africa)

Diplomats say Iranian negotiators back uranium deal

Iranian negotiators meeting with representatives from America, France, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency have supported a deal that, assuming Tehran’s leadership assents, would send most of its enriched uranium to Russia for additional processing. This would postpone for several years Iran’s capability to make nuclear weapons. The IAEA’s Mohamed El Baradei said the four countries had sent the drafts to their capitals and he was looking for approval by Friday. Iran’s chief delegate praised the deal, but emphasised senior officials in Tehran still needed to sign off on it. El Baradei said, “That in my judgment reflects a balanced approach to how to move forward. Everybody who participated at the meeting was trying to look at the future not at the past, trying to heal the wounds.” While the draft is still in “close hold” status, diplomats told journalists it was essentially the IAEA’s original proposal, committing Iran to ship 75% of its enriched uranium stockpile to Russia for further processing. Sending all this uranium out of the country would, at least for a while, get rid of most of the material it needs to make a bomb.

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