Iran to make new initiative in nuclear row: report

16th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 September 2005, NEW YORK/TEHRAN - Iran is poised to propose international involvement in its uranium enrichment programme as part of a package of measures aimed at solving the dispute over the country's nuclear ambitions, informed sources in Tehran said Friday.

16 September 2005

NEW YORK/TEHRAN - Iran is poised to propose international involvement in its uranium enrichment programme as part of a package of measures aimed at solving the dispute over the country's nuclear ambitions, informed sources in Tehran said Friday.

The sources said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will during a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday outline plans for independent countries to play a role in converting uranium, thereby assuring the international community that the enriched material is not for weapons use.

Under the plan Iran could convert raw uranium into yellowcake and later into uranium hexafluoride gas, the feedstock for nuclear enrichment.

Another country, possibly China, Russia, Pakistan, India or South Africa, could then continue the uranium enrichment process eventually producing nuclear fuel of a grade that would be certifiably only for peaceful use.

The proposal is part of a series of measures aimed at solving long-running tensions over Iran's nuclear programme, which Tehran insists is for electricity generation but the United States claims could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

Key to the dispute is uranium conversion, which Iran recently resumed at its Isfahan plant in the face of international resistance. Enriched uranium is at a low grade used for nuclear fuel but can at high grades have weapons applications.

The sources also said that Ahmadinejad will pledge to provide written guarantees, legally binding in U.N. terms, that Iran's nuclear programme is peaceful in intent.

The Iranian president will also suggest that tenders be submitted from other countries for the joint development of two more nuclear reactors, along the lines of the Bushehr plant currently being developed with Russia.

In return for its compliance with these proposals, Tehran is seeking international recognition of its right to peaceful nuclear energy - in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - and is also asking that Iran's case with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) be considered 'closed'.

The IAEA was due to discuss Iran at a Monday meeting of its Board of Governors. News of the latest proposals from Teheran has prompted speculation that the IAEA meeting may change its focus from urging a referral of Iran to the U.N. Security Council, to seeking to bring Iran back to the nuclear table.

France, Britain and Germany have led two years of European Union negotiations with Iran. The talks process has however been deadlocked since Iran rejected E.U. incentives to abandon its nuclear programmes.

Representatives of all three countries met with Ahmadinejad Thursday for the first time since the conservative former mayor of Tehran's election.

The talks were described as "fruitful", with E.U. envoys saying they would listen carefully to Ahmadinejad's speech Saturday and were prepared to give the issue more time before bringing the matter before the Security Council.

DPA

Subject: German news

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