New face-saving U.S. move in Iranian nuke negotiations: Ask Iran to dismantle its pipes or something

The idea is to convince the Iranians to take away many of the pipes that connect their nuclear centrifuges, the giant machines that are connected together in a maze that allows uranium fuel to move from one machine to another, getting enriched along the way. That way, the Iranians could claim they have not given in to Western demands that they eliminate all but a token number of their 19,000 machines, in which Iran has invested billions of dollars and tremendous national pride.

And if the plumbing is removed, experts at America’s national nuclear laboratories have told the Obama administration, the United States and its allies could accurately claim that they have extended the time Iran would need to produce enough fuel for a bomb — and given the West time to react…

“We’re open to it,” is the most a senior Obama administration official would allow on Thursday night, briefing reporters.