An insistence on confidentiality has prevented almost any disclosure of Tehran’s proposals, called “very useful” by the US and other members of the 5+1. However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday that the starting point in last week’s discussions in Geneva was Iran’s suspension of enrichment of uranium to 20%, limiting the level to 5%.
In return, the 5+1 Powers would recognize Iran’s right to enrich and begin lifting sanctions imposed by the European Union and US.
In the absence of trust between the two sides, we have to concentrate on what causes the most concern. Among the six powers, enrichment above 5 percent has always been a focus because the Iranian nuclear program is continuing to expand.
If progress continues at the talks, there’s no reason why we can’t agree on the lifting of all unilateral sanctions. The exact timetable is a matter for discussion.
An Iranian official said just after the Geneva talks that Tehran is offering to stop enrichment of uranium to 20%, converting existing stock to fuel plates, if the right to enrich is acknowledged and removal of major sanctions begins.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, invoking confidentiality, later said that the official did not know the content of Tehran’s proposals.
China Imports of Iranian Oil Up 24% in September
China took in 24% more Iranian oil in September, compared to the previous month.
The import of 475,521 barrels per day was Beijing’s third-highest total this year.
Despite the threat of US financial penalties, China’s intake of Iranian oil is 1.4% higher than last year through the end of September.
Chinese oil officials estimated late last year that domestic refiners would cut their Iran shipments at least 5% in 2013 to around 416,400 bpd.
Part of September’s rise was due to the start-up of the Dragon Aromatics petrochemical plant in southern China. Dragon took about 2 million barrels, or about 66,000 bpd, of South Pars condensate in both August and September, and it will continue to do so through the end of the year, according to a trade official with direct knowledge of the plant’s operations.
China’s daily imports are still down more than 20% from a peak of 555,200 bpd in 2011.
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