Iran ready to reconsider 20% enrichment

July 31, 2010

TEHRAN -- Iran will reconsider its decision to enrich uranium to 20 percent if it acquires nuclear fuel to power the Tehran research reactor, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Ali Akbar Salehi has announced.

Iran does not need to enrich uranium to 20 percent if its need for nuclear fuel to power the Tehran research reactor is met, Salehi told the Mehr News Agency on Thursday.
Iran sought to acquire nuclear fuel to power the Tehran reactor from abroad because domestic fuel provision was not cost-effective, he explained.
“But after a few months, since the fuel for the Tehran reactor was running out, we announced that we had the potential to provide the fuel ourselves” and began enriching uranium to 20 percent, he added.
“Right now, we only need 20 percent enriched fuel for the Tehran reactor. However, if we have any (other) reactors (of this type) in the future, that is an entirely different story… but for now, if 100 kilograms of fuel is provided, it will be enough to power the Tehran reactor for the next seven or eight years,” he added.
However, Salehi noted that uranium enrichment is Iran’s legitimate right and Iran will never relinquish that right.
It is also Iran’s right to ask the International Atomic Energy Agency to supply nuclear fuel for its reactors, he added.
On Iran’s recent response to the IAEA, Salehi said Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA headquarters in Vienna submitted Iran’s letter to the IAEA, which forwarded copies of it to the United States, France, and Russia.
“We have not received any official response yet, but we have heard, through the media, that the U.S., France, and Russia are ready” to talk, he added.
Iran is ready to enter into negotiations with the Vienna group (the U.S., France, and Russia) almost immediately, even in the next few days, if the other parties declare they are also ready, he stated.
In another development, the spokesperson for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Wednesday that Turkey and Brazil might be invited to participate in the nuclear negotiations with Iran.
The statement comes two weeks after Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that Tehran wanted Turkey and Brazil to participate in the nuclear talks.
In addition, informed sources in Turkey told Turkey’s Cihan News Agency on Thursday that Ankara has not yet received an official request to participate in the nuclear talks but is ready to join the negotiations if all the countries involved make a formal request.