By Jeremy Herb
With negotiations set to begin Friday between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program, Iran suggested a compromise late Sunday to eventually stop producing 20 percent enriched uranium.
Under the proposed compromise, Iran would continue to enrich its low-grade uranium, and would stop enriching 20 percent uranium — which is viewed as the step below weapons-grade uranium — once Iran had enough stockpiled for its medical research.
Talks between Iran and the P5+1 group — the five permanent United Nations Security Council countries plus Germany — are set to begin on Friday in Istanbul.
Some Iranian officials had initially opposed holding the talks in Turkey — suggesting instead Baghdad, Damascus, Syria, or China as alternatives — but Iranian officials said Sunday the first round would be in Istanbul, with a second round slated for Baghdad, according to Iran’s Press TV.
The negotiations are seen as a potential last chance for a diplomatic solution between the West and Iran over its nuclear program. The United States and its allies believe Iran is seeking to produce nuclear weapons, while Iran insists its program is for energy production and medical research only.
The uranium issue is one of the key points the two sides will be meeting about when talks begin Friday. Negotiations between Iran and the world powers last year, also held in Istanbul, were unsuccessful.
The United States has also signaled that it is demanding Iran close its recently completed nuclear facility in Fordo, which is built inside of a mountain, The New York Times reported.
President Obama has said he wants a diplomatic resolution over Iran’s nuclear program, while signaling that a military strike remains an option.