US ‘still interested’ in nuclear fuel swap with Iran

21 Apr 2010

The United States said yesterday it is “still interested” in an offer to swap nuclear fuel with Iran after Tehran announced it would talk with the entire UN Security Council to break the current deadlock.
“We’re still interested in pursuing that offer if Iran is interested,” State department spokesman Philip Crowley said, even as Washington consults with its international partners about imposing tougher sanctions against Iran. Crowley was referring to an October 2009 UN-drafted deal to supply nuclear fuel for a Tehran research reactor by shipping out Iran’s low-enriched uranium in return for higher-grade nuclear fuel produced by Russia and France. “At the heart of this was the proposal that Iran would ship out significant amounts of enriched fuel and there would be an exchange for a corresponding amount of fuel suitable for the Tehran medical research reactor,” he said. “Iran has never agreed to that element of the offer,” he recalled. However, Crowley said the deal would “need to be updated” as Iran has been operating centrifuges that enrich uranium in the seven months since the offer was first made.

In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran plans to hold talks with all 15 members of the UN Security Council in an effort to break the deadlock over the nuclear fuel deal. Mottaki said the deal could be finalised in “two weeks” if all sides showed the necessary will.

source: The Times of India

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