Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has ruled out the possibility of Tehran facing further sanctions over its nuclear program.
“Sanctions were the ‘literature’ of the 60s and 70s,” Mottaki said at a Thursday news conference during his visit to the Philippines.
“I think they [the world powers] are wise enough not to repeat failed experiences. Of course it’s totally up to them,” he added.
On the previous day, Mottaki said that although Iran would not send its 3.5-percent-enriched uranium out of the country for further reprocessing, it would still be willing to consider the nuclear fuel deal if the conditions of the procedural transfer were changed.
The deal, drawn up by the UN nuclear watchdog, proposes an exchange of Iran’s low-grade uranium (enriched up to 3.5 percent) with fuel processed to higher levels of around 20 percent.
Iran needs the higher enriched fuel to run the Tehran nuclear reactor, which produces medicine for cancer treatment and other clinical requirements.
The Iranian foreign minister stated Tehran would be ready to consider exchanging its low-grade nuclear fuel with higher enriched uranium in a simultaneous swap inside the country.
Despite the clear announcement that what Tehran is not satisfied with is the means of transfer, Mottaki’s Wednesday remarks drew harsh responses from the US and France.
US President Barack Obama warned of “consequences” if Tehran did not change its mind and French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, attacked Iran for refusing to send low-enriched uranium abroad, calling it a “negative” move.
Despite the reactions, analysts believe the announcement can not be interpreted as a negative response as it does not undermine the exchange itself, but simply suggests a different means of transfer that could allay Tehran’s concerns.
According to some analysts, Tehran is worried that the other side may not stick to its side of the bargain after Iran transfers its low-enriched uranium abroad for further processing.