Iran dismisses report of new US nuclear fuel offer
Iran on Friday dismissed a media report that the United States was mulling a new offer to the Islamic republic to transfer Tehran's low-enriched uranium to Russia for higher processing.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the report was a "media game" and no new "proposal has been forwarded to us."
Le Monde newspaper reported Washington was planning to offer to transfer 2,000 kilogrammes (4,400 pounds) of low-enriched uranium (LEU) for further enrichment in Russia, rather than an October 2009 proposal to shift 1,200 kilogrammes of LEU out of Iran.
The report said the new proposal being considered by President Barack Obama's administration would require Tehran to relinquish 30 kilogrammes of 20-percent enriched uranium it has refined since February.
Le Monde's report appears to be similar to one published in The New York Times last month which also said the Obama administration was preparing a new, more onerous offer for Iran on a nuclear fuel swap.
But Mottaki rejected the latest report.
"There is no logic in it," the foreign minister told Iran's state news agency IRNA. He said any fuel swap would depend on Tehran's needs as defined in a deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey in May.
The May deal, known as the Tehran Declaration, calls for 1,200 kilogrammes of Iran's LEU to be transferred to Turkey in return for 20-percent enriched uranium to be delivered from Russia and France at a later date.
"The Tehran Declaration explained the framework for the fuel swap," Mottaki said.
"If they do not wish to exchange fuel, we do not want this swap either because the Islamic Republic of Iran is taking its own measures" to produce the higher grade fuel, he said.
Talks between Iran and the United States, Russia and France over a fuel transfer have been deadlocked since October 2009, just as the overall nuclear negotiations between the six world powers and Tehran have hit a stalemate.
The world powers suspect Iran is masking a weapons drive under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme, a charge strongly denied by Iran.
But Iran and the major powers are expected to meet later this month to hold talks on Tehran's overall nuclear drive at which the issue of a fuel swap is also expected to be discussed.
© 2010 AFP