White House says final deal with Iran could include uranium enrichment, even as it opposes new sanctions.

whitehouse(Washington, D.C.) — “A final deal with Iran could include a capacity for uranium enrichment, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday, seeking to clarify some of the terms of the interim deal signed between Tehran and world powers,” reports the Jerusalem Post, based on information from JTA and Reuters. “The United States does not recognize that Iran has a right to enrich, but ‘we are prepared to negotiate a strictly limited enrichment program in the end state,’ said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman with the White House National Security Council.”

“This is because the Iranians have indicated for the first time that they are prepared to accept ‘rigorous monitoring and limits on level, scope, capacity and stockpiles,’ she said in response to a query arising from a story first reported by the Washington Free Beacon,” noted the Post. “It has been reported for months that the Obama administration and Western powers were prepared to tolerate low level enrichment as part of a permanent deal; Meehan’s statements Tuesday were the first on-the-record confirmation. Israel opposes any permanent enrichment capacity, saying that at even low levels, the infrastructure required for such enrichment leaves Iran perilously close to the ability to manufacture a weapon.”

“If we can reach an understanding on all of these strict constraints, then we can have an arrangement that includes a very modest amount of enrichment that is tied to Iran’s actual needs and that eliminates any near-term breakout capability,” Meehan said. “If we can’t, then we’ll be right back to insisting on no enrichment.”

Later in the article, the Post noted that “the White House also said on Tuesday it opposes a fresh effort by some members of the US Senate to impose new sanctions against Iran, even if the new restrictions would not take effect for months. Some senators have been discussing the idea of imposing new sanctions on Iran that would kick in after six months or if Iran violated terms of an interim deal reached 10 days ago that attempts to contain its nuclear program.”

“If we pass sanctions now, even with a deferred trigger which has been discussed, the Iranians, and likely our international partners, will see us as having negotiated in bad faith,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.