Clinton: Iran Buying Time With Negotiations
The Obama Administration admitted that Iran is still not cooperating with international calls to reduce its nuclear program. After the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany gave Tehran their demands, which called for Iran to halt enrichment of uranium over 3.5%, ship its stores of 20% enriched uranium out of Iran, shut down its enrichment facility in Fordow, allow IAEA inspectors unrestricted access to its nuclear sites, and honor the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran balked, according to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Yet Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, protested that there had been progress, and that the two sides had found "some common ground" with further talks scheduled in Moscow June 18 and 19. Meanwhile Iran races ahead with its uranium enrichment program, which is attempting to enrich uranium to 20%, which is a significant step toward achieving 90% weapons grade material.
Clinton lamely argued that her Administration was doing everything it could:
“As we lay the groundwork for these talks, we will keep up the pressure as part of our dual-track approach. All of our sanctions will remain in place and will continue to move forward during this period. Iran now has the choice to make: will it meet its international obligations and give the world confidence in its intentions or not?”
Iran claims that the uranium enrichment work is meant for medical research and generating electricity, but 3.5% enrichment is all that is needed for power generation, and medical isotope research doesn’t require an amount of uranium enrichment beyond what Iran already possesses.
In March, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano charged Iran was hiding its nuclear activity intended for military use, saying, "Iran is not telling us everything." Last November, the IAEA stated that Iran was engaging in nuclear research of a military nature, and pointed out a high-explosives test chamber at the Parchin military base near Tehran.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu demanded the P5+1 take a tough line with Iran, and not compromise with Tehran: "This is the only way to ensure Iran will not build a nuclear bomb. This is Israel's position. It has not changed, and it will not change.”