Russia: Iran is ready to Cease Enriching Uranium to 20%

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeated in an interview with the Kuwaiti press on Tuesday an assertion he has made before, i.e. that Iran stands ready to cease enriching uranium to 19.75% for the purpose of fueling its medical reactor. This level of enrichment was forced on Iran when it ran out of enriched uranium for its small reactor that produces medical isotopes for treating cancer. Iran had bought a stock of fuel from Argentina before the latter mothballed its nuclear program. Most of Iran’s enrichment is to only 3.5% for making fuel for nuclear reactors so as to produce electricity, but it does have some of the 19.75% enrichment level (the last level considered “Low Enriched Uranium” (LEU). Israel and the US are worried that this stock could be most easily further enriched to the 90% or so necessary to produce a nuclear bomb.

The USG Open Source Center translates Larvov’s remarks from the Russian:

Russian minister says Iran ready to stop enriching uranium to 20 per cent
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Document Type: OSC Summary

Russian minister says Iran ready to stop enriching uranium to 20 per cent

Russia’s foreign minister has said that Iran is prepared to suspend efforts to enrich uranium to 20 per cent.

In an interview with the Kuwaiti government’s official Kuna news agency, published in Russian on the Russian Foreign Ministry website on 18 June, Sergey Lavrov said the move could be a “breakthrough” in the stalemate surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme.

“In the efforts to resolve the situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear programme, for the first time in many years, there are some encouraging signs. Without doubt, an important role in this has been played by the principles of phasing (Russian: poetapnost) and mutuality proposed by the Group of Six, which offers Iran the prospect of sanctions being eased and, ultimately, lifted, in exchange for conscientious and consistently deepening cooperation with the international community,” Lavrov said.

“Without going into detail, the Iranians confirm the main point – their readiness, right now, to agree to suspend the enrichment of uranium to 20 per cent. This really could be a breakthrough agreement, and could significantly reduce the severity of the existing problems, including concerns over the likelihood of a future escalation of enrichment to weapons-grade. Naturally, this assumes substantial reciprocal measures on the part of the Group of Six. The international community should respond appropriately and with mutuality to constructive movement on the Iranian side, including with the gradual suspension and lifting of sanctions, both unilateral sanctions and those introduced through the UN Security Council. It would be unforgivable not to make use of this opportunity,” he added.

“It is extremely important that, in circumstances where the possibility of progress at the talks has been identified, all sides should refrain from ill-conceived moves that might undermine these efforts. The continued ramping-up of sanctions pressure on Tehran must be avoided, and thought needs to be given to identifying ways of possibly gradually reducing that pressure, in areas that Iran will notice.

“We believe that, in order to ensure that both Iran and the Group of Six can move forward, political will and a reserve of flexibility are required. That is what we believe will deliver success in the negotiations process, irrespective of where and in which country the latest elections are taking place.

“We believe that, in the current situation, a reduction in the accumulated momentum of the negotiations process is unacceptable. The date and venue for the next meeting between Iran and the Group of Six need to be agreed as soon as possible.

“At the same time, we proceed on the basis that Iran has an unconditional right to develop a civilian nuclear programme, including its right to enrichment, once all the outstanding issues have been clarified and Iran’s entire nuclear activity has been placed under the reliable and comprehensive monitoring of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).

“As for the results of the presidential election in Iran, we proceed on the basis that Iran’s new president will adhere to the existing rules in respect of the supreme leadership of the IRI (Islamic Republic of Iran), and will continue to follow its line on foreign policy and on sensitive domestic problems,” Lavrov said.

(Description of Source: Moscow Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in Russian — Official website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; URL:

Posted in Iran | 7 Responses | Print |

7 Responses

  1. How the United States and Israel react to this will be the real test of whether the ongoing sanctions are really about Iran’s nuclear program at all.

    If points continue to made that Iran may have “undisclosed” facilities or that they have not really proven “intent” — then, like the sanctions and subsequent war against Saddam, they are being asked for the impossible — to ‘prove a negative’.

    Which means the nuclear issue is just a cover for sustained economic warfare.

    • I agree with you. I’d add that the Iranian banking system control and the renewed Iranian oil control by the West, namely the U.S.A., would be and most likely is one of the real motivations for going to war against Iran.

      Judging on the relations between Iran and Russia, I wonder if the latter would react against that next war like it’s doing against the war in Syria. I think that yes would be the proper answer.

      • Putin is a wily dog — I’m afraid he just might like to sit back and watch the U.S. get embroiled in a shooting war with Iran.

        Consider the impact on oil prices — and Russia’s position to reap the dividends.

        • Whether it’s us “good guys,” or the “evil empire,” I would think the same principle applies:

          The many little hidden cancers really prosper and grow and metastasize when the ol’ body’s immune system is occupied trying to deal with virulent infections, and burgeoning parasites, and continual loss of blood from wounds that are kept so happily open…

  2. I for one, am very pleased to see Russia back in an adversarial position against our hegemonic march in the M.E.
    Persia is as important today as it has been through history.

  3. This is a tenuously related question but I hope someone can direct me to resources that can answer it:

    Why is all the talk concerning the nuclear programs of, shall we say “outsider nations” (the ones who, we are supposed to believe are interested in making “evil” bombs as opposed to the “good, peaceful” bombs of the U.S., France, Israel, Great Britain etc.) always concerned with Uranium enrichment? Aren’t most fission bombs and initiators for fusion bombs constructed to use Plutonium? I recall concern back in the 70’s that the pushing of fast breeder reactors and the use of reprocessing to provide mixed oxide fuel for commercial power reactors would dramatically increase the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation as it would mean even an ostensibly pure civilian would have the means of producing and separating Plutonium and a legitimate reason for doing so. Now all we hear about is the enrichment of Uranium past a certain level being dangerous.

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