Iran letter on nuclear deal handed to IAEA - UPDATED

Iran urged big powers and the U.N. nuclear watchdog to implement a deal to send some of its uranium to Turkey in return for atomic fuel.

Iran letter on nuclear deal handed to IAEA - UPDATED

Iran urged big powers and the U.N. nuclear watchdog to implement a deal to send some of its uranium to Turkey in return for atomic fuel.

Iran outlined to the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Monday a deal to give up some of its enriched uranium, calling it major progress towards resolving a standoff with world powers now pursuing tougher sanctions against Tehran.

"We expect (this) to be realized as soon as possible," said Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

When asked if Iran would continue enriching uranium to higher levels if the deal went through, he said: "This is not the issue."

A letter signed by Iranian nuclear programme chief Ali Akbar Salehi was handed over to International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano at a 45-minute meeting in Vienna, an Iranian diplomat told reporters. He gave no details.

Iran's Arabic-language al-Alam state television quoted Salehi's letter as saying the deal was "a major step forward" towards defusing tensions over its nuclear energy programme.

Turkey will be the venue of uranium swap between Iran and and the West.

With the agreement signed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, Iran committed to give the 1200kg of 3.5% enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for 20% enriched uranium it will receive from Western countries to be used as fuel in the nuclear research reactor in Tehran.

Tehran will receive the enriched uranium from the Vienna Group, comprising of the U.S., France, Russia and International Atomic Energy Agency, in Turkey.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tehran had accepted the nuclear fuel swap to show good faith in efforts to defuse tensions over its atomic program, which he reiterated were solely peaceful.

"Iran accepted the conditions in order to create an atmosphere based on trust and cooperation," Mehmanparast told a news conference during a visit to Istanbul.

He said Tehran was awaiting approval from the Vienna group of states expected to supply Iran with the 20 percent enriched uranium in return for its 3.5 percent-enriched uranium, to be sent to Turkey for safekeeping until a swap could take place.

"We will reach an agreement with the group after the discussion on all technical and official details are complete. A possible agreement with the Vienna group ... will provide a peaceful and constructive solution for the whole world."

The original deal brokered between Iran, the United States, France and Russia in October foundered in disputes over detail.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday he hoped the new proposal could open the way to a negotiated settlement.

Agencies

Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2010, 12:39
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