Does the Obama Administration’s National Security Strategy signal a policy shift that in effect drops the condition that Iran suspend its enrichment related activities as a precondition for negotiations? Stephanie Cooke, Uranium Intelligence Weekly’s editor, thinks so:
Speaking of Iran, few seem to have clocked the possible significance of an Iranian offer to suspend their 20% enrichment program if the proposed Turkey-Brazil fuel swap goes through. Or – perhaps even more importantly – a little noticed shift in the May 2010 U.S. National Security Strategy document that allows negotiators far more flexibility over Iranian enrichment than its predecessor document in 2006. For one thing, unlike the Bush 2006 NSS, the current NSS no longer sets up as a specific objective “to keep states from acquiring the capability to produce fissile material suitable for making nuclear weapons.” It only says the Administration will “work to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.” That leaves open the possibility that the US and its partners in the P5+1 group could at some point begin thinking the unthinkable – namely allowing some enrichment in Iran to continue. These are indications of movement on both sides that could ultimately lead to a defusion of the crisis. For anyone interested in reading more on this, we have made available an article in our current issue of Uranium Intelligence Weekly.
I am not sure about this particular reading of the tea leaves — or whether the condition was ever really meaningful even at the end of the Bush Administration, partisan wrangling to the contrary — but I’d be interested in what others have to say.