TEHRAN: The nuclear fuel swap issue was separate from its overall atomic programme, reiterated by Iran on Tuesday, for which Tehran and the six world powers are expected to hold talks later this month.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast “We have said from the beginning that these two issues are independent from one another,” The issue of fuel swap is an independent issue and the issue of dialogue with 5+1 is another independent issue. If the complete independence of both these issues is not respected, then it will create obstacles in follow-ups.”
Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany are to hold talks over
Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme. Mehmanparast’s comments come ahead of an expected meeting between Iranian officials and representatives of the six world powers —
The world powers led by Washington suspect Iran is masking a weapons drive under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme, a charge which Tehran denies.
There has been no report so far of a separate meeting between Iran and three world powers, Russia, France and the United States and the UN atomic watchdog — known as the Vienna group to discuss the nuclear fuel swap.
Iran’s atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi had said On October 18, that Tehran was “ready to hold simultaneous talks with the 5+1 and the Vienna group about the fuel swap.” He did not say when and where these simultaneous talks could be held.
The idea of swapping nuclear fuel was first discussed in October 2009 and a proposal was forwarded to Iran by the Vienna group, which it rejected.
Brazil and Turkey later brokered a modified agreement on the fuel exchange in May which was rejected by the world powers, arguing that the deal failed to take into account additional uranium enriched since last year by Tehran.
But in the past few days, the Western media has reported that the United States was preparing a set of new proposals which include a fuel swap deal.
These reports did not specify whether the US proposals would be discussed at the upcoming talks between the six powers and Iran.
A report in French daily Le Monde last week said that Washington’s offer would include transferring 2,000 kilogrammes of Tehran’s low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia for producing fuel to operate Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant which has been built by Moscow.
The proposal also talks of transferring another 1,200 kilogrammes of Tehran’s LEU to Russia and France as proposed in October 2009 to produce fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, a facility which makes medical isotopes reported by the same newspaper.
That report further included that the United States is also planing to propose to shift the 30 kilogrammes of 20 percent enriched uranium that Tehran currently is keeping out of the country. –