Turkey and Brazil are trying to revive a stalled atomic fuel deal with Iran in an attempt to help the Islamic Republic avoid new U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, Western diplomats said on Friday.
The Turks and Brazilians have said they would have trouble supporting a new sanctions resolution against Tehran, which insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and intended solely for generating electricity.
Council resolutions need nine votes in favor and no vetos from the five permanent members to pass.
China and Russia are ready to give the Brazilians and Turks the time they need to broker a deal, U.N. diplomats said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Western diplomats said that nonpermanent Security Council members Brazil and Turkey had helped broker an Iranian counteroffer to a U.N. proposal to enable Iran to refuel an aging research reactor in Tehran that makes isotopes for cancer treatment.
Under the original offer, Iran would have sent most of its enriched uranium stocks out of the country for up to year for further enrichment and processing in Russia and France. After agreeing in principle in October, Tehran balked at the offer.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki presented the Iranian counterproposal during a meeting on Sunday with U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Yukiya Amano.
Brazil and Turkey have already expressed their willingness to mediate in the standoff between Iran and the West over its nuclear program.
U.N. diplomats said that the nuclear fuel deal was only one of many issues with Iran, which is under a series of prior U.N. sanctions, they said.
They threatened Islamic Republic, saying that the significance of the fuel offer was waning with each passing day as the Iranians continue to enrich uranium and expand their stocks.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is due to visit Tehran in May, reflecting the countries' growing diplomatic and economic ties.
U.N. ambassadors from the five permanent Security Council members and Germany have been meeting regularly in New York to reach a deal on a draft resolution for the full council.
ReutersLast Mod: 10 Kasım 2010, 16:13