Iran discusses with U.S., Russia, France on purchasing nuclear fuel from abroad

09:40, October 20, 2009      

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In the arrangement of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), representatives of the United States, Russia, France and Iran on Monday began in Vienna internal consultations on the Iranian nuclear issue about purchasing nuclear fuel from abroad.

Iran's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ambassador Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh attends a meeting on the Iranian nuclear issue in Vienna with EU and U.S. diplomats in Vienna's UN headquarters October 19, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The negotiation began in the afternoon. It is understood that Western countries wish that, through the negotiation, Iran would agree to transfer its uranium enrichment activities to other countries and give up its domestic enrichment of uranium, and offer a timetable for that.

It was said that the talks would last "two to three days," which is a technical meeting to discuss the details. The talks are not open to media.

It was also said that Iran has not sent a senior negotiator to the talks. In addition, on the eve of the beginning of the talks, an Iranian spokesman, Ali Shirzadian, said that the agreement of Iran "to buy nuclear fuel from abroad does not mean that Iran would halt its uranium enrichment activities in its country." He stressed: "We will not give up our rights."

Iran also noted that the research reactor in Iran requires a higher purity of enriched uranium. If it can't be purchased from abroad, Iran would produce by itself.

According to a survey by the IAEA, Iran has been able to produce enriched uranium with a purity of about 5 percent.

Earlier this month, in the talks between Iran and the six parties on the Iranian nuclear issue held in Geneva, Iran has in principle agreed to ship most of its existing low-grade enriched uranium to Russia and France, where the enriched uranium would be processed into fuel rods with the purity of 20 percent.

The enriched uranium with higher purity would be then transported back to Iran, used as nuclear fuel in research nuclear reactor for the manufacture of medical radioisotopes. Iran has also agreed to allow international inspectors into its newly disclosed nuclear facilities for verification. In this regard, some international commentators believe that this is a major concession made by Iran on the nuclear issue.

Source: Xinhua
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