A deal has been reached between Iran, Turkey, and Brazil, in which Iran has agreed to ship most of its enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for nuclear fuel rods to power a medical research reactor. Deprived of the uranium, Iran cannot process it to the higher levels needed for weapons production. In addition, the fuel rods returned to Iran for Tehran’s research reactor cannot be processed beyond their lower, safer levels.
In addition, Iran has finally released French academic Clotilde Reiss, who has been held in Tehran’s Evin Prison for more than ten months on charges of espionage as well as participation in rioting and civil strife. Her 10-year jail term was commuted to a fine of 3 billion rials ($300,000). Reiss was welcomed by President Sarkozy on her return home early Sunday afternoon.
Of course, Iran’s cooperation on these two fronts should not discount its lack of cooperation on an issue even more important, that of human rights. While many in the West can now rest assured that Iran now does not have enough uranium to build the nuclear bomb, at least for now, the Iranian people continue to be held in prisons throughout Iran. Iran’s human rights abuse has only increased since the June 2009 presidential elections and can be seen as recently as the very controversial execution of five Iranians just last week.
As Reiss said on her return to France,
I am thinking chiefly of two men who were executed in January 2010 and who were pretty much at my sides during the public trial. They treated me like a sister. I am thinking about them because I was overwhelmed by their stories. Now that I am free in my country, my thoughts turn to them.
Many others continue to be detained in prison in Iran, including women and children. Now that there has been some initial progress on the nuclear concern, at least temporarily, it is finally time for other powers to focus an equal amount of attention on the rights of the Iranian people.
Photo credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier; Atta Kenare / AFP/Getty Images