France: Iran nuclear transfer deal a 'positive step'

18th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

French President Nicolas Sarkozy considers the deal under which Iran will ship much of its low enriched uranium to Turkey a "positive step," a statement from his office said Tuesday.

"The president of the republic believes that the transfer of 1,200 kilogrammes of low enriched uranium from Iran is a positive step," the statement said.

"It must be logically accompanied by a halt to (Iran's) 20 percent enrichment" of nuclear fuel.

Sarkozy is in the Spanish capital on Tuesday to attend a summit between the European Union and countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Brazil on Monday signed an agreement that commits Tehran to depositing 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of low enriched uranium (LEU) in Turkey in return for fuel for a research reactor.

Most Western powers have been sceptical of the deal, which was spearheaded by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a last-ditch effort to avoid a new round of UN sanctions against Iran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is the UN's nuclear watchdog, said it has received the text of the joint declaration by Iran, Brazil and Turkey but was now expecting Tehran to notify it directly of what commitments it had undertaken.

Tehran, already under three sets of UN sanctions over its defiant nuclear drive, has touted the agreement as a goodwill gesture which paves the way for a resumption of talks with world powers.

But the United States has already said it will not halt efforts for a new set of sanctions against Iran.

© 2010 AFP

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