Iran wants guarantees for nuclear fuel swap talks: report

Iran wants guarantees for nuclear fuel swap talks: report
# 16 May 2010 04:11 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Iran said on Saturday it was willing to discuss a venue to swap uranium that needs to be enriched for a nuclear research reactor if it obtains "concrete guarantees", APA reports quoting AFP.
The Arabic-language channel quoted foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying that Tehran struck a deal on the amount of uranium to be exchanged and the modality of the swap -- simultaneously or in batches.
"There is an agreement on the time and the volume of the fuel to be exchanged," Mehmanparast said according to Al-Alam, without elaborating on the deal or with whom it was reached.
"But there is still the venue (to be decided) and if there are concrete guarantees, Iran is willing to discuss the location," he added.
The remarks came as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was due to arrive in Tehran for a nuclear summit that major powers have said might prove to be Iran’s last chance to avoid tough new UN sanctions.
Lula, who is expected to land at midnight (1930 GMT), told reporters in Moscow on Friday he was "optimistic" and hoped to be able to persuade Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to reach an agreement with the West.
The International Atomic Energy Agency proposed in October a plan whereby Iran would hand over its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia for enrichment to the required level of 20 percent.
The material would then be processed by France into the necessary fuel rods for the Tehran reactor, which makes radioisotopes for medical purposes such as the treatment of cancer.
Citing a "lack of confidence," Tehran rejected the proposal and offered an exchange of fuel simultaneously and in smaller quantities within the borders of country, but the West rejected its counter-offer.
Earlier this month Ahmadinejad was said to have approved a Brazilian plan aimed at breaking the impasse, according to his website, which did not give any details.
In April Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said during a visit to Tehran that his country could "examine" hosting the fuel swap if requested by Iran.
He also said that Brazil -- a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council which has been resisting the US-led efforts for fresh sanctions -- could act as a "political guarantor" for the deal.
Iran’s atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying Saturday by local media that Tehran "received many proposals and we are considering them."