Iran seeks 100% guarantee for exchange of nuclear fuel

November 25, 2009 - 0:0

TEHRAN - Iran wants a 100 percent guarantee that it will receive the higher-enriched nuclear fuel for its medical research reactor if it decides to exchange its low-enriched uranium in the proposed deal, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said here on Tuesday.

According to a deal drafted by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran would exchange a large consignment of its low-enriched uranium for 20 percent enriched uranium for the Tehran reactor, which produces radioisotopes for medical treatment.
Iranian lawmakers and other officials have said the first priority is to buy fuel for the reactor. They have also said Iran will only exchange its low-enriched uranium after it receives the 20 percent enriched uranium promised in the latest nuclear proposal.
“The exchange of nuclear fuel on our country’s soil is one of the 100 percent guarantees we are seeking in regard to the enriched uranium,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters at his first weekly press briefing.
“We are looking for 100 percent guarantees. This doesn’t mean that we are against shipping the 3.5 percent enriched uranium (abroad). The way to ship out the fuel is a matter up for negotiation,” he explained.
Referring to the Western powers’ record of breaking their commitments to the Islamic Republic, he said, “We do not have to give others a guarantee. Those who presented such proposals are obliged to give us a full guarantee that if we send the 3.5 percent enriched uranium abroad, we will definitely receive the 20 percent enriched uranium.”
“We have learned from our previous experiences in relationships with Western countries, including France and Britain, that they don’t fulfill their commitments,” Mehmanparast noted.
“And to avoid a repetition of the same problems, we are looking for a 100 percent guarantee… and there should be no ambiguities in providing the fuel for the Tehran reactor,” he stated.
Buying fuel is a trade issue
Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili said here on Tuesday that Iran will consider other options if the country’s request to receive the 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel is not guaranteed.
“We must receive a solid guarantee that the fuel will be delivered, and if a concrete guarantee is not provided, (we) have other options to consider,” Jalili told reporters.
He said the issue is neither a political nor a legal or a technical matter and it does not relate to Iran's talks with the 5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) at all.
Rather, it is simply a trade issue, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator asserted.
Preference for buying fuel
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told reporters at a press conference in Brasilia on Monday that despite the fact that Iran is capable of enriching uranium to a level of 20 percent purity for its reactor, it prefers to buy it.
The Iranian president added that there is no legal prohibition barring Iran from producing 20 percent enriched uranium under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Jalili, who led the Iranian delegation during the nuclear talks in Geneva on October 1, said Iran is ready to hold talks on its package of proposals, but apparently the 5+1 group is not ready for such talks.
The package includes proposals for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, economic cooperation, and ways to achieve global nuclear disarmament.