World

US considers letting Iran keep more of its nuclear program intact _ but demands compromise

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sits after addressing the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. In a wide-ranging speech, Rouhani warned world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly that the goal of extremists creating chaos in the Mideast is the destruction of civilization and rise of Islamophobia. He also said a nuclear agreement is possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sits after addressing the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. In a wide-ranging speech, Rouhani warned world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly that the goal of extremists creating chaos in the Mideast is the destruction of civilization and rise of Islamophobia. He also said a nuclear agreement is possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference in New York on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. In his wide-ranging speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Rouhani warned that Islamic terrorists were creating chaos in the Mideast to destroy civilization and generate anti-Muslim hatred, saying they wanted to create "a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region." He also said a nuclear agreement was possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference in New York on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. In his wide-ranging speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Rouhani warned that Islamic terrorists were creating chaos in the Mideast to destroy civilization and generate anti-Muslim hatred, saying they wanted to create "a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region." He also said a nuclear agreement was possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani adjusts a translation headphone during a news conference in New York on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. In his wide-ranging speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Rouhani warned that Islamic terrorists were creating chaos in the Mideast to destroy civilization and generate anti-Muslim hatred, saying they wanted to create "a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region." He also said a nuclear agreement was possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani adjusts a translation headphone during a news conference in New York on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. In his wide-ranging speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Rouhani warned that Islamic terrorists were creating chaos in the Mideast to destroy civilization and generate anti-Muslim hatred, saying they wanted to create "a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region." He also said a nuclear agreement was possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)  (The Associated Press)

Diplomats say the U.S. is considering softening demands that Iran gut its uranium enrichment program in favor of letting Tehran keep nearly half of it intact but placing other constraints on its possible use as a path to nuclear weapons.

Ideally, the U.S. wants no more than 1,500 centrifuges enriching. Iran insists it wants to use the technology only to make reactor fuel and demands it be allowed to run at least the present 9,400 machines.

The tentative new offer envisages letting Iran keep up to 4,500 centrifuges but would cut the stock of uranium gas fed into the machines to where it would take more than a year of work to create enough material for a nuclear warhead.

The diplomats demanded anonymity Thursday because their information is confidential.