UN says Iran's nuke deal "encouraging"

09:01, May 18, 2010      

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The Iranian nuclear fuel swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil is "encouraging," United Nations spokesperson Martin Nesirky said on Monday.

"Efforts to try to resolve this through dialogue are important and are to be encouraged," he told reporters.

On Monday in Tehran, Iran signed an agreement with Turkey and Brazil on shipping most of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for the 20-percent uranium fuel needed for its Tehran reactor.

The new agreement -- reached at a tripartite meeting of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- comes after a stalled UN-backed plan that would have offered nuclear fuel rods for a reactor in exchange for Iran's stock of lower-level enriched uranium.

Under the tentative agreement with Turkey and Brazil, Iran will continue to enrich uranium, according to statements made in Tehran.

Tehran is already under three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to halt its uranium enrichment program. Washington has submitted a fourth resolution to its partners, for closed-door discussions.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement issued on Monday that "given Iran's repeated failure to live up to its own commitments, and the need to address fundamental issues related to Iran's nuclear program, the United States and international community continue to have serious concerns."



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