Iran to go ahead on nuclear fuel swap talks

Iran to go ahead on nuclear fuel swap talks
# 30 June 2010 00:36 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Iran has clarified that it does not plan to interrupt its dialogue with the West on the proposed nuclear fuel deal but talks on its uranium enrichment programme have been stalled for another two months, APA reports quoting The Hindu.
On Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran was preparing its response to questions that have been raised by the United States, Russia and France, also called the Vienna group, about an agreement on a nuclear swap that Tehran had reached with Turkey and Brazil last month.
Iran, Turkey and Brazil had on May 17 signed the Tehran Declaration, under which Iran is to transfer 1,200 kg of its domestically produced stocks of lightly enriched uranium to Turkey. In return, it would receive 20-per-cent-enriched uranium fuel for use in a Tehran based medical reactor that is engaged in producing nuclear medicine.
The Vienna group, which had first proposed a nuclear fuel deal in October, has responded in writing to the Tehran Declaration, opening the possibility of further talks in the coming days.
Mr. Mottaki said during a press conference that “the answer to the letters sent by the Vienna group is being prepared”. “There have been contacts and communication between Foreign Ministers [of Iran, Brazil and Turkey] last week and we have concluded that this course should continue.” He added that “a three-way meeting” on the nuclear fuel swap was on the agenda whose dates would be announced in “one or two days”.
Coinciding with these remarks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that the Vienna group had sought a meeting with Iran, with the nuclear fuel swap on the agenda. “Russia, the United States and France suggested that the IAEA Director General [Yukiya Amano] organise a meeting of technical experts from our three countries and Iran to solve issues of fuel supplies for the Teheran research reactor, with the understanding that Iran will halt enriching [uranium] to 20 per cent,” Ria-Novosti quoted Mr. Lavrov as saying. “I expect Iran to respond positively, as it will resolve a difficult situation,” he observed.
On Monday, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had said that in the light of the fourth round of sanctions that had been imposed on June 9, Iran had decided to put off nuclear talks with the global powers in the near future. However, Mr. Mottaki said talks on the nuclear swap deal are separate from the dialogue on the enrichment programme held with the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany.
Fresh diplomatic moves on the nuclear fuel swap follow an assertion on Sunday by the head of the CIA Leon Panetta that Iran has enough stocks of Low Enriched Uranium to make two atomic bombs, should it choose enrich them to a higher weapon-grade level.