Tags: iran | nuclear | enrichment

Iran Offers Surprise Nuclear Deal

Thursday, 03 Jul 2008 08:31 PM

By Stewart Stogel

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NEW YORK -- In what may be considered a breakthrough in Iran's standoff with the White House and the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program, it is reported that Tehran will suspend its controversial uranium enrichment if the U.N. suspends the economic sanctions it has imposed.

The report, from Channel 2 News in Tel Aviv, does not identify the sources other than as "Western diplomats."

Iran has allegedly proposed a six-week time frame for the acceptance or rejection of its new proposal.

Coincidentally, Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, was in New York City concluding a series of meetings at United Nations headquarters.

Leaving Iran's U.N. mission Thursday afternoon, Mottaki refused to comment on the report other than to say that he "will have a written letter" to the U.N. "in a few days."

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad told Newsmax that he found the "conciliatory" tone taken by Mottaki during his New York visit "encouraging." But, Khalilzad asked: "Is Mottaki really a player back in Tehran? We don't know."

As such, the "feelers" being put out by Tehran have been taken very cautiously by U.S. diplomats.

However, the latest offer of a formal "suspension" by Iran has taken diplomats by surprise, so no reaction has yet been offered.

Uranium enrichment is a key procedure used in building an atomic weapon.

Washington wants it stopped. Iran insists that the enrichment it is currently proceeding with is for "peaceful" purposes.

The White House and the European Union have threatened to impose new sanctions if Iran does not heed demands to halt the enrichment.

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