The founder of the Arms Control Law blog, Dan Joyner, provides a favorable examination of a proposal for ending the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program that was made by former lead Iranian negotiator Hossain Mousavian to David Ignatius this week:
This proposal includes some elements that I hadn’t heard of before, in particular the “zero stockpile” idea. Obviously, implementation of this idea would be complicated and certainly imperfect. But in principle it does seem to address some of the core concerns voiced by the P5+1, about Iran’s potential ability to “break out” into nuclear weapons manufacture.
It seems to me that this proposal essentially meets all of the reasonable interests and expressed desires of both sides. Under the proposal, Iran would get to keep its nuclear fuel cycle capability, and have its legal right to do so recognized. The P5+1 would get pretty much the maximum reasonable accountability and transparency of Iran’s fissile material stores, with a cap on enrichment at 5%, and the export out of Iran of all uranium enriched higher than 5%, as well as all excess 5% enriched uranium. I think this is exactly the kind of proposal that should be seen as meeting the reasonable interests and requirements of both sides, and that provides a realistic and face-saving way for both sides to claim victory through compromise.
I think that if P5+1 negotiators are smart, they will see this kind of proposal as the best solution they are realistically likely to get to this impasse, and that they will embrace it as providing a way out of the crisis that avoids war.
I’m well aware that Israel, under its current leadership, is unlikely to be satisfied with such a resolution. But that should not stop the P5+1 from being reasonable and pragmatic, and therefore supporting such a resolution, in the interests of international peace and security.