UN nuclear chief says Iran fuel swap talks ongoing

UN nuclear chief says Iran fuel swap talks ongoing
# 29 January 2010 21:24 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. The UN nuclear watchdog chief said Friday dialogue between Iran and the sides seeking to sell nuclear fuel to the country are still underway, as Iran advised the six major powers to use the opportunity to build trust, APA reports quoting Al Jazeera.
"The proposal is on the table. Dialogue is continuing," said the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, in Davos in his first public remarks after succeeding Mohamed ElBaradei two months ago.
Under a UN-brokered proposal, the US, France and Russia want Iran to send most of its domestically-produced low enriched uranium (LEU) abroad to be converted into more refined fuel for the Tehran research reactor.
Tehran welcomed the gist of the proposal, but asked for guarantees that the fuel would be delivered in a timely manner.
The West’s refusal to do so prompted Iran to devise its own proposal under which the country wants to exchange some of its LEU with the fuel under UN supervision on Iranian soil.
Amano, who urged Iran to restore international confidence in its work, expressed hope that a deal would soon be reached between the sides.
"I hope agreement will be reached and I continue to work as intermediary. This will ... help increase confidence in the [Iran] nuclear issue," said the IAEA chief.
Iran says as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is entitled to enrich uranium for civilian purposes. This includes producing fuel for its under-construction nuclear power plants as well as providing fuel for its research reactor in Tehran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Friday said Tehran was ready to enhance cooperation with the IAEA and to continue talks with the West over the fuel proposal.
"The staged fuel swap deal, which has prepared an opportunity for the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, is still on the table," Mottaki said in Davos.
He expressed hope that the West would deal with the issue realistically, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Mottaki said ambiguities between Iran and the IAEA had been resolved and reiterated that Tehran would continue its peaceful nuclear activities within the frameworks of the agency.
Russia and China have called for more diplomacy on Iran, warning against imposing fresh sanctions against the country for delays over the fuel exchange deal.
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