By subtly putting its hands on the brakes of its uranium enrichment efforts, Iran may be signaling that it wants to avoid a direct confrontation over its nuclear program, at least in the near term, according to American and other Western officials, The New York Times reported Friday, December 28. The action has also led some analysts to conclude that Iran’s leaders may be more interested in a deal to end the nuclear standoff. Evidence began emerging last summer that the Iranians were converting a significant portion of their medium-enriched uranium into a form that cannot easily be used in a weapon. But U.S. officials cautioned against drawing firm conclusions about Iran’s ultimate intentions. A new session of talks with Iran is expected next year, and American officials say they still cannot determine whether Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is ready to strike a deal.