via Lobe Log

David E. Sanger reports for the New York Times that Iran sought to use its UN venue last week to “drum up support” for a negotiating strategy of lifting sanctions in tandem with a “nine-step plan” for “gradually suspending” uranium enrichment:

The Iranian plan is based on a proposal made to European officials in July. It essentially calls for a step-by-step dismantling of the sanctions while the Iranians end work at one of two sites where they are enriching what is known as “20 percent uranium.” Only when the Iranians reach step No. 9 — after all the sanctions are gone and badly depressed oil revenues have begun to flow again — would there be a “suspension” of the medium-enriched uranium production at the deep underground site called Fordow.

US officials, though, are not having it, claiming that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is merely stalling for time and hoping to break apart international support for sanctions:

…. Obama administration officials say the deal is intended to generate headlines, but would not guarantee that Iran cannot produce a weapon. “The way they have structured it, you can move the fuel around, and it stays inside the country,” a senior Obama administration official said. “They could restart the program in a nanosecond. They don’t have to answer any questions from the inspectors” about evidence that they conducted research on nuclear weapons technology, but nonetheless would insist on a statement from the agency that all issues have been resolved.

…. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made it clear that the United States had no intention of relaxing the sanctions — particularly now, just as they show the first sign of forcing Iran’s leaders to rethink the costs of their nuclear program.