MANAMA, Dec. 12 (Mehr News Agency) -- Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has disputed the Western claims that Iran has rejected the proposal to exchange its low-enriched uranium for 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel for the Tehran research reactor. Mottaki said Iran is ready to exchange 400 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf.
"We have announced that we are prepared to exchange 400 kilograms of uranium on Kish Island," Mottaki told reporters at a press briefing on Saturday on the sidelines of The Manama Dialogue, a regional security conference organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
View of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in Southern Iran
Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes
Iran has demanded a 100 percent guarantee that it will receive the 20 percent enriched uranium if it agrees to a trade for its low-enriched uranium. However, Iran is highly suspicious of the major powers' intentions. In order to guarantee the deal goes through as planned, Iran proposed that the two sides conduct a simultaneous exchange of nuclear fuel.
The Iranian foreign minister said the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) also made a proposal for exchanging nuclear fuel.
"They told us to provide the 3.5 percent (enriched) nuclear fuel and receive the 20 percent fuel... and we agreed with the general outlines of the proposal, but we suddenly realized that the Western media reported that 1,200 kilograms of nuclear fuel will be shipped out of Iran so that Iran" is unable to produce nuclear weapons, Mottaki stated.
"Is this the response to confidence building?"
He also stated that Tehran could have either completely agreed with the proposal or rejected it, but Iran took a middle path.
"We suggested that the exchange take place over the course of some years. And in addition we announced to the 5+1 (group) that we would deliver 400 kilograms of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent on Kish Island and receive its equivalent enriched to 20 percent."
"Is this not a response and an initiative?"
Iran's Kish Island, Persian Gulf
The Iranian foreign minister also stated that certain countries are trying to deceive the world about the proposed exchange deal.
Iran has the right to ensure that the other side is sincere about what they say, Mottaki noted.
He went on to say that the Tehran reactor produces medical radioisotopes and "not weapons" and asked why the Westerners are threatening Iran over a humanitarian issue.
"What is the meaning of such action?" he asked.
Mottaki said Iran signed a contract with the United States in 1957 for the construction of the Tehran research reactor and the reactor was completed, and later it signed a deal with Germany to build the Bushehr nuclear power plant, but Germany reneged on the contract.
Over the past 200 years, Iran has signed many deals with Western countries that they later reneged on, but Iran has lived up to all its commitments for all these years, he noted.
Iran needs up to 15 nuclear plants
The Iranian foreign minister told participants at The Manama Dialogue that Iran needs up to 15 nuclear power plants to generate electricity.
According to a parliamentary ratification, Iran must produce 20,000 megawatts of electricity. And Russia is building Iran's first nuclear power plant near the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr.
"The Majlis has obliged the government to produce 20,000 megawatts of nuclear electricity, and now I announce that we need at least 10 to 15 nuclear plants to produce (this) electricity," Mottaki told reporters at the press briefing.
And Iran is ready to accept tenders for the construction of these nuclear power plants, he added.
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