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State Department official: Iran deal might allow 'small' uranium enrichment program

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Iran may be allowed to continue with a "small" uranium enrichment program under the terms of the final deal currently being negotiated, according to State Department undersecretary Wendy Sherman.

"Whether, in fact, Iran will have a domestic enrichment program is part of the negotiations," Sherman told reporters in Jerusalem (which she once referred to as Israel, either as diplomatic double-talk or a momentary departure from administration policy). "In the Joint Plan of Action, it was envisioned that it was possible, that Iran might have a small, discreet enrichment program. But that really depended on what the nature of that was, whether there would be the verification and monitoring that would ensure that it would never have a military dimension to the program, it would be strictly for peaceful purposes."

Sherman prefaced that comment by emphasizing that "the objective here is to ensure that Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon and that its program is exclusively peaceful."

She spoke more bureaucratically when pressed on this subject by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during a Senate hearing in October.

"What I can say to you today is that Iran must meet the concerns of the international community, including the United States, and all of its obligations under the [non-proliferation treaty] and the U.N. Security Council resolutions, which has suspended its enrichment," she replied under questioning from the freshman senator, who asked if Obama might "ever agree to ease sanctions in any negotiation that does not require Iran to abandon its enrichment and reprocessing capability?"

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