Iran Suspends 20% Uranium Enrichment?

November 3, 2012  

Iran has suspended 20-percent uranium enrichment in order to have Western-imposed sanctions lifted, a parliament member told the Al Arabiya network on Saturday.

Earlier, according to the report, Foreign Policy and National Security Commission of Parliament Mohammad Hossein Asfari told the ISNA news agency that Tehran’s move was a “good will” gesture, hoping that Western countries will lift their sanctions on Tehran.

Fereydoun Abbasi, head of Iran’s atomic energy organization, said this past week that Tehran was completing the installation of centrifuges at the Fordow uranium enrichment plant.

U.S. and EU measures slashed Iran’s crude oil exports, hitting its hard currency earnings and contributing to a plunge in the rial’s value. The International Energy Agency estimated its crude exports at 860,000 bpd in September, down from 2.2 million bpd at the end of 2011.

Iran’s currency has recently plunged in what some U.S. officials described as the “most punishing sanctions” ever amassed by the global community seeking to halt Tehran’s suspect nuclear program. The rial has lost more than 80 percent of its value compared with the end of last year, when it was worth 13,000 to the dollar.

Last week, Iran banned the export of around 50 basic goods as the country takes steps to preserve supplies of essential items in the face of tightening Western sanctions, Al Arabiya reported.

Iranian traders will no longer be able to export goods including wheat, flour, sugar, and red meat, as well as aluminum and steel ingots, according to a letter from Deputy Industry Minister Seyyed Javad Taghavi published in Iranian media on Tuesday.

The letter also said a further list of banned goods would be announced later.

Last month Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, offered the West a compromise regarding his country’s nuclear program.

Salehi told the German magazine Der Spiegel that Iran would be willing to limit its uranium enrichment if the international community agrees to recognize its right to have nukes.

“If our right to enrich uranium is recognized, we will limit the amount of enrichment,” said Salehi, adding, “However, Iran will need to receive the fuel supply it needs other countries.”

As the tension between Iran and Western countries continues, a report on Thursday indicated that Britain is considering stationing warplanes in the Persian Gulf.

The Independent reported that the decision on whether to send the planes at such a volatile time will be made by British Prime Minister David Cameron, after further talks with the rulers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. An announcement is expected to be made in the near future.

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