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Iran: Declaration eliminates risks

27 May 2010 15:43

A top Iranian nuclear official has said preferring Turkey over Russia as the site of a possible nuclear swap was to guarantee the return of the fuel.

Iran, Turkey and Brazil issued a nuclear fuel swap declaration last weeks, whereby Iran expresses readiness to exchange low enriched uranium on Turkish soil for fuel for a medical research reactor.

In an interview with Khabaronline published on Tuesday, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said the declaration guarantees that Iran’s enriched uranium will not leave Turkey.

“In the Tehran declaration we have stated that our fuel will remain untouched in Turkey, guarded by us and the (International Atomic Energy) Agency, and we have Turkey and Brazil’s guarantees,” Salehi added.

He went on to say that the earlier fuel swap proposal envisioned enriching Iran’s uranium to 20 percent in Russia and later sending it to France for conversion into fuel rods

“They demanded that our (5.3-percent) uranium be shipped to Russia for enrichment to 20-percent and from there to France for conversion into fuel rods that would be sent to Iran,” he said.

The new proposal, however, ensures the “implementation of the clauses of the declaration and the future nuclear fuel swap.”

Iran has demanded objective assurances over the swap, criticizing France for holding on to 50 tons of Iranian uranium since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Western powers have welcomed the declaration but have continued with efforts to impose a fourth round of tough UN sanctions against Iran over allegations that Tehran is perusing a covert military nuclear program – a charge repeatedly rejected by the Islamic Republic.

One day after the Tehran declaration, the US submitted its draft sanctions resolution to the UN Security Council, saying it had convinced veto-wielding permanent members China and Russia to join its campaign.

Iran stresses that its nuclear program is a civilian one and its inalienable right given its membership in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and as it is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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