Iran is holding up progress for implementing the interim deal agreed to by world powers in November because of the issue of centrifuges that can be used to purify uranium to level that would make it suitable to make a nuclear weapon.
“This issue (centrifuges) was among the main factors in stopping the previous technical discussions on December 19-21,” a Western diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
That is exactly why there is a bi-partisan effort in Congress to pass a new bill that would place harsher sanctions on Iran if it reneges on the interim agreement.
The sponsors of the bill, Democrats as well as Republicans, don’t trust Iran to have suddenly surrendered its nuclear program. President Barack Obama, who has put his weight behind “engaging” Iran diplomatically, has vowed to veto the bill if it is passed.
Iran said it has installed new and advanced centrifuges since the interim deal was reached, an issue that is to be discussed this week in meetings with the P5+1 countries.
“As part of the (November 24) agreement, Iran is permitted to engage in R&D (research and development), but that is tempered by the fact that it is prohibited to install new centrifuges, except as required by wear and tear,” one diplomats was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The interim deal is to be implemented on January 20 if Iran and the world powers can overcome disputes on the wording and meaning of the November agreement.
Reuters quoted an Israeli official as saying, “It was clear from the outset that the Iranians would play games. They did it in the past, and now they’re up to their old tricks again.”