Iran to continue uranium enrichment despite swap dealJune 3rd, 2010 - 12:12 am ICT by IANS
Vienna, June 2 (DPA) A senior Iranian diplomat made clear Wednesday in Vienna that his country would continue a controversial process of enriching uranium at higher levels even if a multilateral deal to do this work abroad should go through.
Russia, France, the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have tried since last October to get Iran to agree to ship low-enriched uranium abroad so it can be made into nuclear fuel for a Tehran medical reactor.
But in February, Iran started on the path of making this fuel itself by boosting enrichment levels from below 5 per cent to around 20 percent.
Iran’s envoy at the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told reporters: “We have a serious confidence deficit regarding fuel supply”. Therefore his country needed to have backup in place to guarantee the operation of the Tehran reactor.
“This is probably a dealbreaker,” a Western diplomat who closely follows the fuel deal said on condition of anonymity when asked to react to Soltanieh’s comments.
Experts have said the 20-percent enrichment brings Iran closer to producing material that could be turned into weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb.
In May, Iran agreed with Brazil and Turkey on an alternative proposal for a fuel deal under which Iran would store its low-enriched uranium in Turkey until Russia and France provide the fuel for the medical-use Tehran Research Reactor.
So far, Russia, France and the US have not responded to this concept.
But Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Philip J Crowley said in Washington that “It is our judgement that the Tehran Research Reactor proposal and Iran’s response overall (…) has not built the confidence that we had hoped for”.
The US said that because Iran is violating UN Security Council resolutions by continuing to enrich uranium, world powers would continue seeking to impose new sanctions.
In Vienna, Soltanieh also criticised the IAEA’s latest report on his country. He said the nuclear agency had falsely claimed that some nuclear equipment for making uranium metal had been removed and could therefore no longer be inspected.
Soltanieh was speaking after an IAEA briefing on Iran for member states, but three participants of that meeting told DPA that Soltanieh had not brought up this issue in the briefing.
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- Iran plans to hold talks over uranium exchange deal - Apr 19, 2010
- Iran to increase uranium enrichment if Vienna talks fail - Oct 19, 2009
- Iran, IAEA to hold talks in May - Apr 28, 2012
- IAEA wants Iran to comply without delay on n-issue - Sep 14, 2012
- Iran produces 70 kg high-grade enriched uranium - Oct 18, 2011
- Iran issues threats after IAEA resolution (Lead, changing dateline) - Nov 27, 2009
- Iran's nuke-related demands prerequisites, not pre-conditions, says key official - Jan 23, 2011
- US to give Iran 'space' to mull nuclear fuel deal - Nov 10, 2009
- Iran enriches 100 kg of Uranium to 20 percent (Lead) - Feb 20, 2012
- Iran clinches closer to sanctions after declaring plans to enrich nuke stockpile - Feb 09, 2010
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