Iran agrees to exchange low enriched uranium in Turkey, calls for fresh talks

20:08, May 17, 2010      

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Iran signed here an agreement with Turkey and Brazil on Monday by which it will ship most of its low enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for the 20 percent uranium fuel needed for its Tehran reactor.

Iran agreed to a draft proposal whereby Iran will send some 1, 200 kg of its 3.5 percent enriched uranium over to Turkey in exchange for a total of 120 kg 20 percent uranium needed for a medical research reactor, the local satellite Press TV reported.

The new agreement was reached at the tripartite meeting of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Iran's nuclear program in Tehran on Monday.

Accordingly, the Iranian president called for fresh talks on its controversial nuclear program with the world's major powers after the signing of the deal.

"Following the signing of the nuclear fuel swap deal, it is time for G5+1 countries to enter talks with Iran based on honesty, justice and mutual respect," Ahmadinejad said after the agreement was signed between the three countries.

The "G5+1 countries" refers to the five permanent United Nations Security Council members -- the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain -- plus Germany.

Ahmadinejad said the nuclear fuel swap deal could be the first step towards boosting and reorganizing cooperation between Iran, Brazil and Turkey, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Brazilian president also described the meeting as a diplomatic victory in the world. "I'm sure our negotiations will be fruitful," Lula was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Erdogan, for his part, said Turkey will support Iran's legitimate right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, according to IRNA.

Talking to the reporters, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki expressed hope that Tehran's decision to accept the deal would create a positive, constructive and non-confrontational atmosphere that will open a new chapter of interaction and cooperation between Iran and the West, according to Press TV.

Mottaki also reiterated Iran's commitment to the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the legal right of all member states, including the Islamic Republic, to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, said Press TV.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will receive a letter on Monday's nuclear swap deal agreement within a week, Iran 's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters.

According to Press TV, the swap will take place nearly a month after receiving official approval from the Vienna Group engaged in the swap deal, which consists of representatives from Iran, France, Russia, the United States and the IAEA.

Further, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu told reporters that the agreement between Iran, Turkey and Brazil should be taken positively and there is no need for further UN sanctions against Iran.

"There is no need for sanctions today and time is ripe for talks between Iran and the global community," IRNA quoted Davutoglu as saying.

The United States is leading a push to press for new sanctions against Iran on the ground that the Middle East country is developing clandestine nuclear program, but Tehran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purpose.

Davutoglu said Turkey and Brazil guarantee that Iran's low- enriched uranium will be kept in Turkey until it receives the 20 percent uranium needed for Tehran medical research reactor.

"We have guaranteed to keep Iran's enriched uranium as our asset in Turkey until Iran's needed fuel for Tehran (medical research) reactor to be delivered to Iran," he was quoted as saying.

According to Press TV, the swap will take place nearly a month after receiving official approval from the Vienna Group engaged in the swap deal, which consists of representatives from Iran, France, Russia, the United States and the IAEA.

Further, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu told reporters that the agreement between Iran, Turkey and Brazil should be taken positively and there is no need for further UN sanctions against Iran.

"There is no need for sanctions today and time is ripe for talks between Iran and the global community," IRNA quoted Davutoglu as saying.

The United States is leading a push to press for new sanctions against Iran on the ground that the Middle East country is developing clandestine nuclear program, but Tehran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purpose.

Davutoglu said Turkey and Brazil guarantee that Iran's low- enriched uranium will be kept in Turkey until it receives the 20 percent uranium needed for Tehran medical research reactor.

"We have guaranteed to keep Iran's enriched uranium as our asset in Turkey until Iran's needed fuel for Tehran (medical research) reactor to be delivered to Iran," he was quoted as saying.

Mehmanparast told Press TV that Iran had intensified negotiations with Brazil and Turkey in the past few days in order to revive a draft proposal, which was initially dismissed by Tehran due to a lack of enough guarantees.

The International Atomic Energy Agency proposed last autumn that Iran takes its uranium of 3.5 percent purity to other countries, where it can be processed into high-enrichment uranium of 20 percent. The processed high-enrichment uranium will be then used as fuel for nuclear reactors and for medical purpose.

Iran had rejected the deal, urging for a simultaneous swap of the fuel on its soil, until the Monday agreement was reached.

Efforts by the two countries to mediate in the standoff have given Iran "the guarantees it needs" to proceed with the shipment of its low-enriched uranium, the Mehmanparast added.

He said that he hoped the recent breakthrough would show that " Iran has always intended to enrich uranium for peaceful scientific purposes, not the development of nuclear weapons."

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:祁澍文)

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