Western officials dismiss Iranian nuclear proposal

Western officials dismiss Iranian nuclear proposal
# 06 February 2010 19:26 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Ziya Agazade – APA. Iran’s claims to be close to an agreement on its nuclear program have yet to be backed up by any concrete actions, top Western officials said Saturday, and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it may be time to take a "different tack" with Tehran, APA reports citing “Associated Press”.

U.S. and European officials at a gathering of the world’s top defense officials in Munich rejected statements from Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki late Friday that Tehran was "approaching a final agreement."

Mottaki pointed out that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier this week suggested he would at last agree to export a significant amount of low-enriched uranium for processing, to be returned as refined fuel rods that can power reactors but cannot be readily turned into weapons-grade material.

During a visit to Ankara, Turkey, Gates suggested Washington was losing its patience with Iran.

"The reality is they’ve done nothing to assure the international community" or "to stop their progress toward (building) a nuclear weapon," Gates said.

"Iran is the only country in the region that has publicly declared its intent to destroy another country in the region," Gates told reporters in Turkey, in reference to Iran’s threats to Israel. If Iran proceeds with this program "unrestrained," there is a "real danger of proliferation" that would destabilize the region, he added.

Iran now possesses more than enough enriched uranium for at least one nuclear warhead. The agreement worked out by the IAEA would delay Tehran’s ability to make such a weapon by requiring the country to export 70 percent of its uranium stock and then wait for up to a year for it to be processed and returned as fuel rods for the research reactor.

Iran has stopped short of accepting the agreement in its entirety, offering a shorter turnaround time for return of the fuel rods. On Friday, Mottaki indicated that Iran would insist on determining the amount of uranium that would be involved.

On Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told participants at the Munich forum that China believed patience and further diplomatic efforts were called for.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said that Iran’s response has "so far gone without adequate response."
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