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Iran Close to Deal on Nuclear Freeze

From Reuters

Iran has reached a tentative deal with France, Britain and Germany to freeze parts of its nuclear program, Iranian and European Union officials said Sunday. The move could allow Tehran to avoid U.N. sanctions.

The agreement, hammered out in two days of talks in Paris ending Saturday, awaits the go-ahead from Iran’s clerical leaders, EU diplomatic sources said.

Under the deal, Iran would freeze all nuclear fuel enrichment and reprocessing activities until it reached a final agreement with the European Union over a package of economic, technological and security incentives. Those incentives would be offered in return for Tehran’s abandoning of nuclear activities that could be used to make weapons, the diplomats said.

Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for generating electricity, but the U.S. and other countries suspect Tehran is seeking to make atomic weapons.

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Although the activities related to fuel enrichment were not violations of Iran’s obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the U.S. has urged the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to refer the issue to the Security Council for discussions of possible sanctions.

Britain, Germany and France told Iran it must freeze uranium enrichment -- a process used to purify uranium into nuclear reactor fuel or to make bomb-grade material -- before the IAEA’s Nov. 25 board meeting.


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