Iran overholdt ikke tidsfristen på forslaget fra IAEA om å oversende Irans uranbeholdning til anriking i utlandet. Iran sa man trenger mer tid. Samtidig lanserte man et nytt forslag: Iran skulle ikke sende sitt uran utenlands, men kjøpe uran i utlandet for anriking.

Et slikt forslag slår bena under hele planen som ble presentert. Den tar sikte på at Iran sender sitt uran til utlandet for prosessuering i Russland og Frankrike. Iran vil få tilbake uranstaver til bruk i sine reaktorer, beskikket på en slik måte at de kun kan brukes sivilt.

At Iran unnlater og svare og lanserer motforslag, er et svært dårlig tegn.

David Albright of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, which monitors nuclear proliferation, said: «This is a bad sign – buying nuclear fuel abroad is a complete non-starter. They seem to be looking for modifications that would fundamentally weaken the deal.»

Although the IAEA’s plan has not been made public, it is understood that it entails Iran shipping out 1.2 tonnes of its stockpile of 1.5 tonnes of low-enriched uranium to the IAEA. It would then be passed to Russia for refinement to 19.7 per cent purity, and then moved on to France to be turned into fuel rods.

If Tehran signs up to the deal, it would seriously handicap the country’s options for manufacturing nuclear weapons, as 0.98 tonnes is the generally accepted amount of low-enriched uranium needed for a single nuclear bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) had given Tehran until yesterday to sign up to an agreement under which it would send its uranium to Russia and France for enrichment. As the deadline loomed, state television quoted a member of Iran’s negotiating team who attended this week’s talks in Vienna as saying that Tehran preferred to buy in nuclear fuel from abroad. This would fail to reduce Iran’s domestic stockpile from worrying the international community, which fears it could be used for weapons.

Iran ignores deadline and takes nuclear talks to brink