Report: U.S. rejected Iranian plan to end standoff over nuclear program
Tehran proposed an immediate end to Western economic sanctions against it in exchange for gradual winding down of 20-percent uranium enrichment, according to a New York Times report.
Iran recently proposed a nine-step plan to end the confrontation with the West over its nuclear program, but American officials have rejected the plan as a non-starter, the New York Times reported on Thursday.
According to the report, Iranian officials attempted to garner support for the plan last month at the UN General Assembly in New York.
The Iranian plan, which is based on a previous plan submitted to European officials in July, calls for gradually removing economic sanctions imposed on the country by the West in exchange for ending work at one of two sites where Iran is enriching uranium.
However, under the plan, Iran would only suspend work at the second facility, the underground uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, after all sanctions have been lifted and the country is able to sell its oil freely again.
The sanctions have taken an increasingly harsh toll on Iran's economy, including the collapse of the Iranian currency, the rial. This week, the worsening economic situation in the country led to public protests in Tehran, which were put down by riot police.
U.S. officials told the Times the plan was insufficient, as it would allow Iran to "restart the program in a nanosecond" after the lifting of sanctions.
The U.S. has previously proposed that Iran begin by halting production of 20 percent enriched uranium, which could be used to build nuclear weapons, as a first step, while shipping existing stockpiles out of the country and closing the Fordow facility. Under the American plan, the sanctions would only be lifted once the sides agree on a final deal.
Iran accused of jamming Voice of America
Meanwhile, the government-appointed body that oversees Voice of America and other U.S.-sponsored broadcasts is accusing Iran of jamming radio and television programming into the Middle East and eastern Europe amid protests in Iran over the Iranian currency crisis.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors said Thursday that the jamming is coming from inside Iran and violates international telecommunications regulations. It said the interference began on Wednesday and is affecting VOA's Persian service, along with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's and Farsi-language programming from Radio Farda. The jamming is also affecting the BBC, it said in a statement.
The board said the jamming was affecting satellite transponders operated by the Paris-based European satellite Eutelsat and had blocked programming not only to Iran but also broadcasts aimed at people in Georgia, Armenia, Bosnia and Korea.