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Home >> World
UPDATED: 07:51, May 26, 2005
Iran to study Russia's offer of outsourcing enrichment in talks with EU: FM
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Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said Wednesday that Iran would discuss with Europe Union (EU) a recent Russian offer of outsourcing uranium enrichment program at the Geneva meeting, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The European Union trio (of Britain, France and Germany) and Iran in the Geneva meeting will study the production of nuclear fuel in Russia," Kharazi was quoted as saying.

Iran's chief negotiator Hassan Rowhani and the foreign ministers of the EU trio kicked off their key round of nuclear talks in Geneva earlier in the day in a bid to break the impasse in the negotiations between the two sides.

The current deadlock came as a result of repeated EU rejection to Iran's demand for keeping restricted uranium activates.

Frustrated Tehran in late April threatened to resume its highly sensitive uranium enrichment activities, which it suspended in last November in exchanged for the economic and technological incentives promised by the EU.

Tehran's threat was immediately hit back by the EU, which warned of backing a US-proposed referral of Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council, which might inflict harsh sanctions on the country.

To avoid a looming crisis, Russia recently suggested that Iran move to Russia the second phase of its uranium enrichment program, namely, the conversion of UF6 gas to enriched uranium.

Iran did not reject the proposal but reiterated that it would " not give up the activities in Natanze facilities", a site for the activities in question.

Kharazi said that "the idea of converting Isfahan facilities' products into nuclear fuel in Russia can be taken into consideration so long as the power plant in Natanz has not been completed." His remarks posed an open stance on the offer.

The Isfahan facilities are used for the first stage of the enrichment, where the so-called "yellow cake" is processed into UF6 in preparation for enrichment in Natanz.

"This issue requires lengthy negotiations and if it ends up in a conclusion, such a proposal can be noteworthy," Kharazi added.

Iran has been cooperation with Russia in the area of nuclear energy for years. Russia is aiding Iran with the country's first nuclear power plant in the southern province of Bushehr.

The United States accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons covertly, a charge has been rejected by Tehran as politically motivated.

2005-05-25-17:45:31

Source: Xinhua


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