Iran has confirmed it is prepared to halt its enrichment of 20-percent uranium, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reported on the ministry website Tuesday, June 18. He urged Western nations to reciprocate by lifting sanctions.DEBKAfile: It was not clear whether this was a temporary suspension, an absolute halt – or a dodge for getting sanctions eased to enable the incoming Iranian president Hassan Rouhaini get to grips with his top priority, his country’s dire economic straits..
Lavrov explained persuasively in his message: “For the first time in many years, there are encouraging signs in the process of settlement of the situation with the Iranian nuclear program. It would be a shame not to take advantage of this opportunity.”
He called Tehran’s concession “a breakthrough agreement, significantly alleviating existing problems, including concerns about the possibility of advanced uranium enrichment to a weapons-grade level.”
Lavrov urged the international community “to adequately respond to the constructive progress made by Iran, including gradual suspension and lifting of sanctions, both unilateral and those introduced by the UN Security Council.”
The Russian foreign minister’s move ties in with two other developments – one at the two-day G8 summit ending Tuesday in Northern Ireland and the other in Tehran: