The West's nuclear negotiations with Iran are fast approaching the Nov. 24 deadline, but negotiators may have just reached a breakthrough. Iran has given a preliminary green light to shipping its estimated 28,000 pounds of uranium to Russia, which would process the material into fuel rods that can't easily be used in nuclear weapons. The processed rods would feed Iran's nuclear power plant.
The proposal doesn't settle a host of other contentious issues, like whether Iran can ever operate its plutonium-producing heavy water reactor and how quickly the economic sanctions against Iran would be lifted. But "if the Iran-Russia deal works, it could be the cornerstone of something much larger," an American "deeply involved in the discussions" tells The New York Times. Russia has been a constructive and "creative" member of the negotiations, the official added, though its also true that Russia stands to make quite a bit of money off the deal, if it goes through.