Russia regrets Iran's refusal of IAEA deal: FM

19:58, January 22, 2010      

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Russia regretted Iran's apparent refusal to accept an offer from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on uranium enrichment, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

"We regret the fact that Iran does not think it is possible to agree to the offered formula regarding the production of fuel for Tehran's experimental reactor," the Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.

Under an IAEA-brokered draft deal, 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 then be transported back to Iran.

Iran has so far not responded to the offers, and posed its own ultimatum earlier this month.

The West shall either sell nuclear fuel to Iran, or swap nuclear fuel for Iran's enriched uranium in smaller batches instead of at once as the U.N. plan requires, said Tehran.

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

Discussions held on Saturday between negotiators from Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany on the Iranian nuclear issue in New York ended with no clear agreement.

Source: Xinhua
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