Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran would negotiate on halting higher-grade uranium enrichment if given fuel for a research reactor. He made his comments on Friday during a visit to Kazakhstan, reviving previous talks of swapping the 20-percent enriched uranium for reactor fuel for Tehran’s research reactor.
“If a guarantee is provided to supply the 20-percent (enriched) fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, our officials are ready to enter talks about 20 percent enrichment,” Mehmanparast said. (IRNA/Press TV, 13 October)
Earlier in the week, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi had told the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel that Tehran was prepared to offer a swap deal if its right to enrich uranium is recognized. Iran, however, has said that all sanctions against the country should be lifted before it stops enrichment activities. The expanding sanctions are fueling a serious economic crisis inside Iran. But the West insists on Iran stopping all activities that could lead to its achieving the capability to produce nuclear weapons before the sanctions are lifted.
Mehmanparast’s comments came on the same day the European Union provisionally approved expanded economic sanctions complementing U.S. plans for further financial restrictions regarding transactions with Iran.
In its latest report issued in August, the IAEA said Iran’s inventory of 20-percent enriched uranium has reached 90 kilograms (200 pounds). Experts say some 200 kg would be required before being refined to 90-percent purity to produce one nuclear bomb. Iran is producing about 15 kg of 20-percent fuel each month, and will have enough fuel by late spring. But it would also need considerably more time to assemble a deliverable nuclear weapon.
File photo: Bushehr nuclear reactor (REUTERS)