Turkey ready to 'store Iran enriched uranium'

November 14, 2009 - 0:0

Turkey says it is willing to act as the third country in a draft deal that would provide Iran with fuel for its Tehran research reactor.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Friday that Ankara was ready to hold Iran's enriched uranium in IAEA custody.
""There is no problem from the side of Turkey with Iran, storing its low-grade uranium in Turkey. We cannot say no,"" Yildiz told reporters.
The mid-October nuclear draft discussed in Vienna envisages Iran shipping out its low-enriched uranium (LEU) to be further enriched and returned to the country for the Tehran medical research reactor.
The outgoing head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, said last Friday that Turkey could enter the proposal as the third-country destination.
Moscow, on Wednesday, threw its weight behind ElBaradei's new proposal, which calls for Iran's enriched uranium to be shipped to its neighbor Turkey, pending arrival of the fuel from Russia.
""We support this option. Russia is interested in the successful implementation of the mechanism of fuel supply for the Tehran research reactor on the basis of the key elements of the framework agreement that was developed by the IAEA,"" Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said.
The idea, however, was rejected by Tehran, with diplomats close to the negotiations saying that Iran seeks a two-staged, simultaneous exchange of enriched uranium with potential suppliers.
Iran needs some 120 kg of uranium enriched to 20 percent to fuel its Tehran research reactor. In the first stage, Iran wants to exchange 400 kg of low-enriched uranium for some 60 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium, the sources said.
After ""a reasonable period of time,"" Iran would be ready to carry out a second, identical exchange, the diplomats said.
Tehran says it does not agree to sending its uranium abroad in one go, arguing that potential suppliers, especially France, may fail to provide guarantees for the return of fuel to Iran as they had in the past violated their agreements with Iran.
(Source: Press TV)