Iran inked a nuclear fuel swap deal Monday which commits it to ship 1,200 kilograms of low enriched uranium to Turkey, potentially ending a standoff with world powers gearing for new sanctions against the Islamic republic.
Under the agreement, Iran will deposit 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of its low enriched uranium in Turkey.
"While in Turkey this LEU will continue to be the property of Iran. Iran and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) may station observers to monitor the safekeeping of the LEU in Turkey," the accord reads.
"Iran will notify the IAEA in writing through official channels of its agreement with the above within seven days following the date of this declaration," it adds.
The exchange would take place in Turkey, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, adding Iran could send LEU to its neighbour within a month. It would be under the supervision there of the U.N. nuclear agency watchdog.
Iran had earlier insisted such a swap must take place on its territory.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there was no justification for more U.N. sanctions on Iran after Tehran agreed to the fuel exchange.
Davutoglu said that the cloud of suspicion over Iran was dispersed with the agreement, and a serious crisis was overcome. He pointed out that Turkey once again showed to the whole world that all problems could be solved through dialogue and diplomacy.
"The swap deal, signed by Iran today, shows that Tehran wants to open a constructive path ... There is no more ground for new sanctions and pressures," he told reporters in Tehran after the agreement was signed by ministers.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on six world powers for fresh talks on Iran's nuclear programme.
"It is time for 5+1 countries to enter talks with Iran based on honesty, justice and mutual respect," Ahmadinejad said, referring to the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany.
There was no immediate comment from Washington, which has been leading a Western push to impose new sanctions on Tehran.
Turkey and Brazil, both non-permanent Council members, had offered to mediate to find a resolution to the impasse.US, West have seen as the "last chance" to avoid a new round of U.N. sanctions.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan discussed the deal with Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Iranian state media reported.
Major world powers had urged Iran to accept an International Atomic Energy Agency plan to ship 1,200 kg (2,600 lb) of its low-enriched uranium abroad for transformation into fuel for a medical research reactor.
Tehran agreed in principle to the deal in October but then demanded changes such as a simultaneous swap on Iranian soil, conditions other parties in the deal said were unacceptable.
Mehmanparast said Iran would formally notify the IAEA about Monday's swap deal within a week.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Turkey would be obliged to return Iran's LEU "immediately and unconditionally" if Monday's agreement was not implemented.
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the United States and its allies had no more excuse to pressure Iran.
"We think we are on the way of resolution of this fabricated file which has been politicised since the beginning ... this file hopefully will be closed forever," he said, state Press TV reported.
According to Reuters news agency, having met in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, the undersigned have agreed on the following Declaration:
1. We reaffirm our commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in accordance with the related articles of the NPT, recall the right of all State Parties, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy (as well as nuclear fuel cycle including enrichment activities) for peaceful purposes without discrimination.
2. We express our strong conviction that we have the opportunity now to begin a forwardlooking process that will create a positive, constructive, non-confrontational atmosphere leading to an era of interaction and cooperation.
3. We believe that the nuclear fuel exchange is instrumental in initiating cooperation in different areas, especially with regard to peaceful nuclear cooperation including nuclear power plant and research reactors construction.
4. Based on this point the nuclear fuel exchange is a starting point to begin cooperation and a positive constructive move forward among nations. Such a move should lead to positive interaction and cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities replacing and avoiding all kinds of confrontation through refraining from measures, actions and rhetorical statements that would jeopardize Iran's rights and obligations under the NPT.
5. Based on the above, in order to facilitate the nuclear cooperation mentioned above, the Islamic Republic of Iran agrees to deposit 1200 kg LEU in Turkey. While in Turkey this LEU will continue to be the property of Iran. Iran and the IAEA may station observers to monitor the safekeeping of the LEU in Turkey.
6. Iran will notify the IAEA in writing through official channels of its agreement with the above within seven days following the date of this declaration. Upon the positive response of the Vienna Group (US, Russia, France and the IAEA) further details of the exchange will be elaborated through a written agreement and proper arrangement between Iran and the Vienna Group that specifically committed themselves to deliver 120 kg of fuel needed for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR).
7. When the Vienna Group declares its commitment to this provision, then both parties would commit themselves to the implementation of the agreement mentioned in item 6. Islamic Republic of Iran expressed its readiness to deposit its LEU (1200 kg) within one month. On the basis of the same agreement the Vienna Group should deliver 120 kg fuel required for TRR in no later than one year.
8. In case the provisions of this Declaration are not respected Turkey, upon the request of Iran, will return swiftly and unconditionally Iran's LEU to Iran.