Just hours after an announcement that an agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency on access for inspectors was imminent comes a new bit of news that could render the entire diplomatic process moot. As the Associated Press reports via the Times of Israel:
Iran announced Tuesday that it had delivered its first two batches of domestically produced nuclear fuel to a Tehran research reactor. The move comes on the eve of talks between Tehran and six Western powers over the future of the country’s nuclear program. The move is widely seen as an attempt by Iran to boost its bargaining position by exaggerating its nuclear technology.
Tehran had tentatively agreed to ship its enriched uranium abroad in order to produce such fuel in 2009. By moving the fuel rods to its own reactors, Iran will effectively put the kibosh on a deal by which it would send the fuel abroad.
While one has to applaud the sheer chutzpah of the Iranians in conducting this maneuver on the very day that IAEA chief Yukio Amano was in Tehran to negotiate with them, it does speak volumes about their utter contempt for their Western negotiating partners. Do they really think they can get away with this? But an even better question would be to ask whether the P5+1 negotiators led by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton are so desperate for an accord as to go forward with the talks even as the Islamist regime contradicts the terms of the proposed deal.