From today's edition of The New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/31/wo...ear-talks.htmlThe American officials were pushing back against public statements made on Sunday by Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, that seemed to rule out an accord under which uranium would be sent abroad...
American officials did not criticize Mr. Araqchi’s public comments, which he made to several news organizations. But they insisted that the issue had never been decided in the closed-door talks, even tentatively.
That narrative has some problems and it may well be intended to mask fundamental differences in order to announce a framework deal albeit what increasingly likely appears to be a weak one. If one goes back to last year, one finds that a tentative arrangement involving the shipment of uranium to Russia had been reached. Moreover in the days and weeks that followed, none of the U.S. team had denied such an arrangement.
With regard to the tentative agreement, the November 3, 2014 issue of The New York Times reported:
Iran has tentatively agreed to ship much of its huge stockpile of uranium to Russia if it reaches a broader nuclear deal with the West, according to officials and diplomats involved in the negotiations, potentially a major breakthrough in talks that have until now been deadlocked...
The chief American negotiator, Wendy R. Sherman, alluded to this possible solution to the uranium issue in a recent speech in which she said that “we have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable.” But Ms. Sherman, who on Monday was named acting deputy secretary of state, has refused to discuss any details of the role Russia could play, saying that negotiations, like mushrooms, “do best in the dark.” As a result, the officials and diplomats would discuss the talks only on the condition of anonymity.
In sum, Iran's apparent reversal is a potentially major development that undermines the possibility of a credible agreement. The absence of such a provision is a substantive setback and describing its being incorporated in a final agreement as a "possibility" doesn't materially change the nature of the setback.