The White House said on Tuesday that it would agree to giving Iran the opportunity to enrich limited amounts of uranium in return for "rigorous" monitoring measures at all of its nuclear facilities. "We are prepared to negotiate a strictly limited enrichment programme in the end state," said US National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.
When asked why is the US doing this, she replied, "Because the Iranians have indicated for the first time in a public document that they are prepared to accept rigorous monitoring and limits on level, scope, capacity and stockpiles."
Meehan's statement came after repeated reports said that the recent Geneva deal recognises Iran's right to enrich uranium. "If we can reach an understanding on all of these strict constraints, then we can have an arrangement that includes a very modest amount of enrichment that is tied to Iran's actual needs and that eliminates any near-term breakout capability," she added. "Since the P5+1 would have to agree to the contours of a possible enrichment programme, it is by definition not a 'right'."
She insisted that if the P5+1 group cannot reach an understanding within the "strict constraints", its members would insist on "no enrichment" at all.
Prior to Meehan's remarks, the White House announced that it opposes efforts to agree upon new sanctions on Iran, even if they remain outstanding for months. A number of Congressmen have proposed new sanctions, put on hold for six months, or to take effect if Iran breaches the terms of the Geneva agreement within its 6-month time limit.