May 18th, 2010
BY ED MORRISSEY, Hot Air
This must be what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton mean by “smart power.” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, not exactly known for his erudition or deep intellect, has managed to outmaneuver the US on uranium enrichment, reaching a deal with Brazil and Turkey to exchange raw nuclear fuel for processed fuel rods. That deal still allows Iran to enrich some of its own uranium, but even while the US objects, it allows political cover to Russia and China:
Iran backed the Obama administration into check in its ongoing nuclear chess match by announcing its own fuel swap deal after a Western-backed plan fell apart last fall.
The country, trying to avoid sanctions after it rejected a deal with the U.S., Russia, France and the International Atomic Energy Agency in October, steered around the United States in brokering a swap with Turkey and Brazil.
In a sense, Iran left the Obama administration an out by declaring it would continue producing 20 percent enrichment uranium even as it proposes shipping nuclear material to Turkey. To become official, the deal still has to be agreed to by the same group of nations that pursued the deal last fall — and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a written statement that while the fuel swap would be a “positive step,” any move to continue enrichment internally would be a “direct violation” of Security Council resolutions.