We've heard rumors of this proposal, but never seen details. A former Iranian negotiator, S. Hossein Mousavian, has told a Japanese news publication the outline of the plan. This proposal is inconsistent with the US demand that Iran relinquish the right to enrich uranium. It does keep all of Iran's enriched uranium in the relatively easy to bomb location of Natanz. Indications from the beginning have been that the US rejected the proposal.
As ''Step 1,'' Iran should take action to limit its uranium enrichment program to just one existing site at Natanz and Iran is also prohibited from adding new centrifuges or producing new-generation centrifuges. In return for this, P5-plus-one would suspend part of the international sanctions stipulated in the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929.There clearly are still many missing details. There is no indication here of how much time and what would prompt the move from one stage to another. An important question for this, if it was the basis for negotiations, would be what happens after the 90 day suspension.
In the next phase, Iran would allow the IAEA's surveillance of centrifuges and implement an additional arrangement with the IAEA for enhanced design inspection of nuclear-related facilities, while Iran's enriched uranium production rate would be limited to 5 percent or lower, far below the weapon-grade enrichment rate of 90 percent. The P5-plus-one side would begin gradually lifting the unilateral sanctions by the United States and key European nations.
During ''Step 3,'' Iran would implement an additional protocol with the IAEA -- an agreement between the nuclear watchdog and each nation that would allow broader and more intrusive IAEA inspections of atomic energy facilities. At the same time, P5-plus-one would suspend all U.N. Security Council sanctions.
In the next and last stage, Iran should suspend all uranium enrichment and related activities for three months, while P5-plus-one would begin final lifting of all sanctions and remove the Iranian nuclear dispute from the IAEA Board of Governors agenda. The P5-plus-one side would also start to implement ''incentives on cooperation in different fields.''
Sanctions are predictably not going to force Iran to suspend enrichment or to negotiate on the basis of relinquishing that right. In fact, during sanctions, Iran will put more facts on the ground that it will refuse to relinquish later. This plan, for example, was conceived before there was significant enrichment outside of Iran. Later plans may well require an acceptance of 20% enrichment in the reinforced underground facility at Fordow.
The pattern that has been established has been that delays in accepting Iranian enrichment lead to greater Iranian enrichment capabilities representing the floor for negotiations. Barack Obama's failure to accept Iranian enrichment so far has led to a significant increase in the amount and kinds of enrichment technology that Iran will have access to going forward.