The devil's in the details: Iran can keep building plutonium reactor after allnot quite....
Sunday's agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program contains an apparent gap that could allow Tehran to build components off-site to install later in a nuclear reactor where it has promised to halt work, experts said.
They said any impact of the omission is likely to be small if Iran follows other undertakings in the interim accord, which is designed to restrain Tehran's nuclear program for six months in return for limited sanctions relief.
But the gap, which one diplomat described as a potential "loophole", could provide a test of Iran's intentions, and demonstrates how difficult it will be to reach a final deal to resolve Iran's nuclear standoff with the West once and for all.
In the deal, Iran agreed that it will "not make any further advances of its activities" at Arak, language that also covers its two big uranium enrichment plants, Fordow and Natanz.
Footnotes hammered out in the final hours of the talks set out a range of activities that would be forbidden at the reactor. For the half year covered by the agreement, Iran is barred from starting the reactor up, bringing fuel or heavy water to it, testing or producing more fuel for it, or installing any remaining components.
But no language explicitly prevents it from making components elsewhere, which could then be installed later.
Former chief UN nuclear inspector Olli Heinonen, now at Harvard university, said the measures were good, but could have been better: "I would have also included the manufacturing of key components," he told Reuters in an e-mail.And I'm sure that Iran has only the best of intentions.... /sarc.
Oh, and by the way, the agreement only covers the Iranian nuclear facilities that the West has discovered. If Iran has any secret facilities, they're not covered by this agreement either.
What could go wrong?