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Iran says ready for fuel swap, downplays sanction threats over nuclear program

2010-04-06 08:08 BJT

by Mehdi Bagheri

TEHRAN, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Iran said on Monday it is ready for nuclear fuel exchange within its territory but will not surrender to the sanction threats over its nuclear program.

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran is ready for fuel swap but its conditions need to be met, the semi- official ISNA news agency reported.

Mehmanparast said "We have always declared that we are ready for fuel exchange, but our desired terms and conditions need to be considered."

Tehran has demanded amendments to a draft deal brokered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Under the draft deal, most of Iran's existing low-grade enriched uranium should be shipped to Russia and France to be processed into fuel rods with the purity of 20 percent. The higher- level enriched uranium will then be transported back to Iran.

However, Tehran insisted that it would be ready to simultaneously exchange the fuel, which is required for the Tehran research reactor, with its low-enriched uranium within Iranian territory.

Meanwhile, Mehmanparast downplayed Western attempts to impose new round of sanctions against the country and said Iran will not surrender to the threats and sanctions, according to ISNA.

He said the approach of threats and sanctions will only boost strength of the Iranian nation's resolution to obtain its rights.

"If they (the West) want to use different ways of threat to impose sanctions and pass resolution against Iran to force the country to ignore its rights, the approach comes to naught for sure," Mehmanparast was quoted as saying.

"The more pressure, the more our nation will be determined to obtain its rights," he said, adding that "We do not regard sanction as a good phenomenon and we consider it as an illogical movement against the interests of our country."

Britain, France, the United States and other western countries have been pushing for a fourth round of UN sanctions to restrict Iran's nuclear efforts, which they say are aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the western accusation and stressed its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purpose.

They (the Westerners) want to make a scenario for their wrong claim that Iran's nuclear activities are moving towards military purposes but we have never pursued nuclear activities for goals other than peaceful purposes, Mehmanparast said.