Iran gave an upbeat assessment of Turkish and Brazilian mediation efforts in its nuclear dispute with the West, welcoming "in principle" ideas aimed at reviving a stalled U.N.-backed atom fuel swap deal with nuclear powers.
"New formulas have been raised about the exchange of fuel ... I think we can arrive at practical agreements on these formulas," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in remarks published by the Iran daily on Saturday.
"That is why we welcomed the proposals in principle ... and left the details for more examination." He did not elaborate on the content of the proposals.
His comments appeared part of an Iranian attempt to avert a possible new round of U.N. sanctions on the Islamic state over a nuclear programme.
Turkey and Brazil are currently non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
Iran, the world's fifth-largest crude exporter, says it only seeks to generate electricity and has repeatedly refused to bow to international demands to halt sensitive atomic activity.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier this week agreed "in principle" to Brazilian mediation on the proposed fuel swap exchange, Iranian media reported.
Turkey and Brazil have been trying to revive the fuel deal in a bid to stave off further sanctions. Iran has also put forward a counterproposal, dismissed by Western officials.
The United States is lobbying U.N. Security Council members to back sanctions including proposed measures targeting Iranian banks, shipping and the country's all-important energy sector.
Support of Russia, China
But Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told Reuters on Friday his country saw a window of opportunity and a willingness by Iran to reach a negotiated solution over its nuclear programme. He met Ahmadinejad in Tehran last week.
Russia and China, veto-wielding members of the Security Council which have significant commercial links with Iran, have said they are willing to give Turkey and Brazil more time to resuscitate the fuel proposal.
Brazil favours a mooted compromise in which Iran could export its uranium to another country in return for higher-enriched fuel for a Tehran research reactor. Iran has so far insisted the exchange must take place on its territory.
"The framework set out by the countries (Turkey and Brazil), alongside our own country's recent proposal, has the potential from the perspective of Iran for arriving at a final common point and becoming operational," Mehmanparast said.
"At any rate, we believe the efforts being undertaken by friendly countries, such as Turkey and Brazil, can ultimately be positive," he added.
ReutersLast Mod: 08 Mayıs 2010, 16:03