ANALYSISTEHRAN: Is Iran threatening, playing nice or bargaining?The coming talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna will focus on who will provide enriched uranium to Iran’s nuclear program.The option supported by the US and its European allies is for Russia to take Iran’s low-enriched uranium, enrich it to 20 per cent and return it toIran’s research reactor for use in medical treatments.Such a scenario would be a big shift for Iran, which has refused to allow other nations to enrich its uranium.It would also build confidence in the West that Iran, after years of defiance, is open to compromise.But Iran said on Sunday that if a deal was not reached it would enrich its uranium stockpile from 3.5 per cent to 20 per cent.This is a prospect the United Nations and the West, which have pressured Iran in recent weeks since the disclosure of a second uranium-enrichment site, want to avoid.The US says Iran is intent on building a nuclear weapon.The Iranians say their program is for medical and civilian use.The West opposes Iran’s increasing its enrichment capacity – 90 per cent uranium enrichment is preferred for a nuclear weapon but a weapon can be built using lower enrichment. A spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Shirzadian, told Iran’s student news agency on Saturday: ”Iran fully owns the enrichment technology and therefore it will sit at the negotiating table with power.”But he was more conciliatory in a recent interview. He said: ”We’re looking at three options. We hand over 3.5 per cent enriched and receive in return 20 per cent enriched.”Or we buy 20 per cent enriched on the market, or we will be allowed to enrich ourselves.”I stress that no matter what option we take it will be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”We are not threatening. Any of these options will work for both sides.”That remains to be seen as negotiators prepare for the Vienna talks at the weekend.Los Angeles Times
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