Building on the very useful analysis of CAP and IISS, here are some of the key differences between the October 2009 and May 2010 fuel swap proposals:
1) Iran’s uranium supply is larger now: 1,500kg in 2009 vs. 2,300kg in 2010. As initially laid out, the swap would have removed nearly 80 percent of Iran’s stockpile of LEU. As it stands now, the proposal would remove only about 50 percent, leaving behind enough to, theoretically, build one bomb.
2) In the original proposal, Iran’s fuel would be shipped to Russia, enriched to 19.75 percent, and then sent to France to be converted into fuel rods. In the new proposal, Iran would send its fuel to Turkey for storage.
3) The 2010 plan does not outline what will happen to the 1,200 kg of LEU being stored in Turkey once the deal concludes. Should another country offer up its own stockpile of LEU for enrichment, which is far from guaranteed, then send that enriched fuel to France for conversion, no provisions exist to state where Iran’s original LEU will go at the end of the process. One would assume back to the country that offered its LEU for conversion. For this scenario to work, however, the US or Russia must first agree to provide 1,200kg of LEU.
4) Paragraph 8 of the 2010 proposal states that: “In case the provisions of this Declaration are not respected Turkey, upon the request of Iran, will return swiftly and unconditionally Iran’s LEU to Iran.” The terms “not respected” are broad and give Iran the right to request the return of its LEU with no specification as to what constitutes a violation.
5) The 2009 proposal would have granted the IAEA full-access to Iran’s nuclear program – 2010 does not include any statements regarding inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
6) The 2010 plan requires that the fuel be delivered to Iran within in one year. France’s fuel fabricator AREVA EURODIF S.A. has indicated, however, that it will require at least two years to produce the required amount of fuel.
7) The 2010 proposal states the “right of all State Parties [to the NPT], including the Islamic Republic of Iran, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy (as well as nuclear fuel cycle including enrichment activities) for peaceful purposes without discrimination.” This statement could be taken to assert Iran’s right to continued enrichment in contradiction of current UN Security Council Resolutions, but its intent is not clear.