Reuters is reporting that Iran has turned down the enrichment deal proposed by IAEA chief Mohammad Elbaradei. The deal was proposed this week in Vienna and has been approved already by all of the other countries (U.S., France and Russia) that took part in the negotiations.
The report relies on an unnamed member of Iran’s diplomatic team, who told State TV that:
Now we are awaiting a positive and constructive response on Iran’s proposal from the other party on providing nuclear fuel for Tehran’s reactor…The other party is expected to avoid past mistakes in violating agreements … and to gain Iran’s trust.
Iran’s alternate plan, of which very few details have emerged, apparently proposes that Iran buy nuclear fuel for its Tehran research plant. The accuracy of these early reports is unclear, but the BBC reports that France’s Foreign Minister has said indications coming from Iran “are not very positive.”
Update: We’re hearing more and more that the reports about Iran “turning down” the proposed deal are unofficial, and as such should be treated with a very healthy dose of skepticism. Iran’s official response is still pending, though it appears Tehran might try to prolong the deadline for a yes or no answer to next week.
The Obama administration acknowledged that they are only interested in Iran’s official response last night in the State Department’s daily press briefing with spokesman Ian Kelly:
I’m sure there are a lot of voices in Tehran right now, but we’re going to wait for that authoritative answer tomorrow.
Update II: Even more from the administration about the State TV reports of a rejection, from Reuters:
WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (Reuters) – The United States is still awaiting Iran’s formal response to a U.N.-drafted plan for it to cut a stockpile of nuclear fuel that the West fears could be used for weapons, a U.S. official said on Friday.
The official, speaking on condition that he not be identified, said Washington did not regard an Iranian state television report suggesting that Tehran would not endorse the deal as Tehran’s official response to the plan, seen as one way to buy time for broader talks on Iran’s nuclear program.
Update III: The BBC has reported that Iran has asked for more time to consider the IAEA deal proposed in Vienna:
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Iran will respond to a proposed deal on its controversial nuclear programme by the middle of next week, the UN atomic agency (IAEA) has said.
IAEA head Mohammed ElBaradei said he hoped the answer would be “positive”.
The UN agency had suggested exporting most of Iran’s enriched uranium to Russia and France for further refining…Iran informed the Director General today that it is considering the proposal in depth and in a favourable light, but needs time until the middle of next week to provide a response,” the IAEA said in a statement.