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Spokesman: Iran awaits response to nuclear fuel swap

2010-01-13 08:38 BJT

TEHRAN, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said Tuesday that Tehran is waiting for response from the world's major powers to Iran's stage-by-stage fuel swap proposal, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"Tehran is ready to exchange fuel under certain conditions, otherwise it will put production of fuel on its agenda," Mehman-Parast said at the weekly press conference.

Asked if new sanctions were upcoming, Mehman-Parast said that "the sanction policy is not practical and Tehran believes that such ways could not resolve the issues," according to the report.

"The best possible way is to respect rights of all nations including the legitimate nuclear right of the Iranian people," he added.

The spokesman told the IRNA on Monday that Iran's position was the same as it previously announced and that the country is ready to exchange nuclear fuel for a Tehran reactor "in batches."

"If the other side (involved in fuel swap talks) has the same readiness and takes steps to this end, then it will be time to discuss other details about setting the place of the fuel exchange as well as other related issues," Mehman-Parast was quoted as saying.

Under a draft deal brokered by the UN nuclear watchdog, most of Iran's existing low-grade enriched uranium should be shipped to Russia and France, where it would be processed into fuel rods with the purity of 20 percent.

The higher-level enriched uranium will be transported back to Iran to be used in a research reactor in Tehran for the manufacture of medical radioisotopes, according to the deal.

However, Tehran rejected a Dec. 31 deadline imposed by the U.S. administration to accept the deal.

Instead, Iran asked the West to accept its own proposal by the end of January -- the West either sells nuclear fuel to Iran, or swaps nuclear fuel for Iran's enriched uranium in smaller batches instead of at once as the UN plan requires.

The United States and its Western allies have been accusing Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons under the disguise of civilian nuclear power. Iran has denied the accusation and stressed its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua