Iran has agreed with nuclear fuel swap in stages: official

December 30, 2009 - 0:0

TEHRAN - Iran reiterated on Tuesday that it is ready for a nuclear fuel exchange in stages and asked Western countries not to lose the opportunity.

“Iran has agreed with exchange of nuclear fuel in stages,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a regular news briefing.
Mehmanparast said if the West takes the opportunity then the sides can enter talks on the “details” of the exchange.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had earlier announced that, in the first stage, Tehran is ready to exchange 400 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf.
“We have announced that we are prepared to exchange 400 kilograms of uranium on Kish Island,” Mottaki told reporters in Manama on December 12.
Iran has demanded a “100 percent guarantee” that it will receive the 20 percent enriched uranium for its Tehran research reactor if it agrees to a trade for its low-enriched uranium.
On Thursday, Mottaki announced that Tehran is ready to exchange its low-enriched uranium for 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel on the Turkish soil.
Mehmanparast said Japan, Turkey, Brazil, and Kish Island have been proposed for an exchange of fuel but none of them is yet certain.
Official urges West not to lose opportunity
Meanwhile a nuclear official said Iran prefers to buy fuel for the Tehran reactor and called on the West not to lose the opportunity.
“We are seeking interaction (and) it is better that West not lose the opportunity,” Ali Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said in an interview with the ISNA news agency released on Tuesday.
Salehi added Iran, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, is legally allowed to enrich uranium to 20 percent for its research reactor. However, he said, the International Atomic Energy Agency is very well aware that Iran’s centrifuges in the Natanz enrichment plant are synchronized to enrich uranium to five percent and that is why Iran prefers to buy fuel for the reactor and “we hope the that the West will get this message fully.”
No deadlock in providing fuel for Tehran reactor
However, he said if the West does not respond to Iran’s goodwill then Tehran will not stand idle by in providing fuel. “Not all ways are closed to providing fuel for the Tehran reactor.”
He also refuted claims by certain countries that if Iran enriches uranium to 20 percent level it means that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.
“Enrichment to a 20 percent purity never means entering weapons stage,” he asserted.
On a deadline set by the U.S. for exchange of nuclear fuel, he said Iran is an independent country and the western countries are in no position to impose deadlines on Tehran