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  • Date :
  • 5/8/2010

Iranian FM to Confer with Turkish Officials on N. Fuel Swap


Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is due to visit Turkey on Friday to discuss nuclear fuel swap for Tehran's research reactor with Turkish officials.

Mottaki, who was on a five-day trip to New York to attend the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference, will briefly stop in Turkey before returning to Tehran on Friday.

Turkish media sources have confirmed the reports, adding that Mottaki will touch base with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and discuss recent developments in a deal to provide an Iranian research reactor with its required fuel.

After Iran announced to the IAEA that it had run out of nuclear fuel for its research reactor in Tehran, the Agency proposed a deal according to which Iran would send 3.5%-enriched uranium and receive 20%-enriched uranium from potential suppliers in return, all through the UN nuclear watchdog agency.

The proposal was first introduced on October 1, when Iranian representatives and diplomats from the Group 5+1 held high-level talks in Geneva.

But France and the United States, as potential suppliers, stalled the talks soon after the start. They offered a deal which would keep Tehran waiting for months before it can obtain the fuel, a luxury of time that Iran cannot afford as it is about to run out of 20-percent-enriched uranium.

The Iranian lawmakers rejected the proposed deal after technical studies showed that it would only take two to three months for any country to further enrich the nuclear stockpile and turn it into metal nuclear rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, while suppliers had announced that they would not return fuel to Iran any less than seven months.

Iran then put forward its own proposal that envisages a two-staged exchange. According to Tehran's offer, the IAEA safeguards nearly one third of Iran's uranium stockpile inside the Iranian territory for the time that it takes to find a supplier.

Despite an 'all-or-nothing' response from the West, Mottaki has frequently reiterated Tehran's continued readiness to resume negotiations with the Group 5+1 to find a mutually acceptable method for the swap.

Turkey has emerged as a key advocate of a diplomatic solution to the international deadlock over Iran's enrichment activities.

In a recent visit to Tehran, Davutoglu had reiterated that 'diplomacy is needed to solve the problem [Since] military means, attacks, sanctions or embargoes will not be fruitful.'

Source: farsnews.com

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