The clock is ticking down to a midnight deadline tonight for Iran to settle its nuclear standoff with the international community.
The UN’s atomic watchdog has proposed a solution to the long-running row, which has seen America and others accuse Tehran of covertly building nuclear weapons. Iran insists its atomic programme is purely peaceful. The UN plan would see Iran send low-level uranium to Russia to be enriched to the maximum level for civilian use. The material would then go to France to be turned into nuclear piles, before returning to Iran. The process would give Tehran enough uranium for research, but not enough for a bomb. Russia this morning agreed to its part in the deal, and France, too, is on board. All that’s needed now is the thumbs up from Tehran. However, at least one senior Iranian politician has signalled his opposition, making it hard for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to support the deal even if he wants to.