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News number: 8901241612

18:53 | 2010-04-13

Nuclear

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Spokesman: Iran Still Ready for Talks on N. Fuel Supply

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast on Tuesday renewed the country's preparedness to attend talks with potential suppliers to buy or swap nuclear fuel for the Tehran research reactor.



"We have a fully clear argument. There is a need (in Iran) for 20% enriched (nuclear) fuel. We have started a practical move to supply the fuel (domestically) due to these (supplying) countries' refusal to provide the fuel and fulfill their commitments," Mehman-Parast said in a weekly press conference here in Tehran today.

"Yet" Mehman-Parast said "we are still ready to talk about swapping or buying the fuel," the spokesman added.

The foreign ministry spokesman also defended the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, and stated, "Our officials have repeatedly announced that the objectives of our country's nuclear activities are fully peaceful and in line with the country's needs in different areas of energy supply, medical activities, agriculture and industry."

Mehman-Parast reiterated Iran's full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) within the framework of the obligations envisaged by the IAEA for its member states, and said, "We are entitled to certain rights and the Agency and its authorities are tasked with materializing these rights for all the member states, including the Islamic Republic of Iran."

After Iran announced to the IAEA that it had run out of nuclear fuel for its research reactor in Tehran, the Agency proposed a deal according to which Iran would send 3.5%-enriched uranium and receive 20%-enriched uranium from potential suppliers in return, all through the UN nuclear watchdog agency.

The proposal was first introduced on October 1, when Iranian representatives and diplomats from the Group 5+1 held high-level talks in Geneva.

But France and the United States, as potentials suppliers, stalled the talks soon after the start. They offered a deal which would keep Tehran waiting for months before it can obtain the fuel, a luxury of time that Iran cannot afford as it is about to run out of the 20-percent-enriched uranium.

Iranian lawmakers rejected the US-proposed deal after technical studies showed that it would only take two to three months for any country to further enrich the nuclear stockpile and turn it into metal nuclear rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, while suppliers had announced that they would not return fuel to Iran any less than seven months.

Iran then put forward its own proposal that envisages a two-staged exchange. According to Tehran's offer, the IAEA safeguards nearly one third of Iran's uranium stockpile inside the Iranian territory for the time that it takes to find a supplier.

Western suppliers have not yet responded to Iran's offer.