Iran agrees to swap uranium fuel

This time, it will be different.  This time, Lucy won’t pull the football away from Charlie Brown.  This time, he will get to kick the football and score a field goal.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry.  This time, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khameini will really part with their enriched uranium:

Iran is ready to exchange the bulk of its stockpile of enriched uranium for nuclear fuel rods — as proposed by the U.N. — but according to its own mechanisms and timetable, the foreign minister said Saturday.

The minister’s remarks come just days before an expected meeting between the U.S. and allies to discuss new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. The offer, however, falls far short of the conditions set by the international community.

Speaking to reporters at a regional security conference in Bahrain, Manochehr Mottaki said Iran agreed with a U.N. deal proposed in October in which up to 2,600 pounds (1,200 kilograms) of its uranium would be exchanged for fuel rods to power its research reactor.

“We accepted the proposal in principle,” he said through a translator. “We suggested in the first phase we give you 400 kilograms of 3.5 percent enriched uranium and you give us the equivalent in 20 percent uranium.”

Iran’s offer contains a number of caveats that will still create an impasse.  First, they want to do the exchange on Kish, but apparently won’t agree to having its enriched uranium transported elsewhere out of their control.  They also want to do the exchange in several steps but get the replacement uranium immediately.  Staging the exchange will allow Iran to retain enough uranium to build a bomb, at least for a while, which is akin to handing a ransom to an extortionist without getting the material used for the extortion.

Wait, it’s not like that … it is handing the ransom to the extortionist without getting the material used for the extortion.

The sudden interest in a deal is yet another stalling maneuver by the Iranian mullahs.  They want to disrupt the sanctions process for a while, which will almost certainly be successful.  Russia and China are already very reluctant to agree to further economic limitations on trade with Iran, and they will seize on this statement as “progress” and set the sanctions momentum back another several months.

Lucy spent the better part of 40 years yanking that football away from Charlie Brown.  The West has had it happen with Iran for almost a decade, with the same results.  Will they take as long as Charlie Brown to figure it out?  It sure seems that way.