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Low-enriched uranium stays in Iran: FM

Source: Press TV

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says the Islamic Republic is considering to exchange its enriched uranium with nuclear fuel inside the country.

"Iran will not send its 3.5-percent-enriched uranium out of the country," ISNA quoted Mottaki as saying on Wednesday. "That means we are considering to exchange the enriched uranium inside Iran," he went on to explain.

Under a mid-October proposal discussed in Vienna, Iran is asked to send most of its domestically produced low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad to be converted into more highly enriched fuel rods for the Tehran reactor, which produces medical isotopes.

The Development and Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons

Today eight countries are possessing nuclear weapons. The five nuclear weapons states United States, Russia (former Soviet Union), United Kingdom, France and China, are the only countries allowed to have nuclear weapons according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) from 1970. All members of the United Nations except Israel, India and Pakistan have signed the NPT.

Following the Vienna meeting western media launched a campaign saying that Iran had failed to respond to the proposal in a timely manner.

"The notion that Iran has not yet responded to the proposal [put forth by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] is mere propaganda," The Iranian minister said, adding that the country had already responded to the agency.

"In fact, they want our response to be whatever they dictate to us!" he said.

Iran prefers to domestically enrich uranium to 20 percent, or buy the 20-percent-enriched uranium that it needs rather than exchanging its LEU with fuel rods, Mottaki said.

"However, since they were insisting on the exchange, we decided to open a window of opportunity and study different aspects of this possibility... But since their estimate about the amount of fuel to be exchanged runs counter to that of our experts, technical examinations are still ongoing," Mottaki added.

"We have called for the Vienna technical commission to be established again so that we can present our viewpoints. The commission has yet to be established," he noted.

The IAEA-proposed draft was first floated by the Obama administration. Tehran, however, says its 'technical and economic' concerns must be taken into account first.

Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), says its activities are aimed at non-military civilian applications of the technology.

'Nothing can stop Iran's uranium enrichment program'

Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh
Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency says the country will never halt its uranium enrichment program.

"Neither sanctions nor UN Security Council resolutions nor military threats can prevent Iran from continuing its uranium enrichment program," IRNA quoted Ambassador Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh as saying on Tuesday.

He noted that IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei's recent report about Iran's Fordo enrichment facility indicates that Iran has fully cooperated with the IAEA.

ElBaradei stated that the results of the IAEA inspections at the nuclear facility comply with the information Iran had earlier presented to the nuclear watchdog.

"The latest report by the IAEA director general is a clear message to the international community that during the course of over six years of close inspections, no evidence has been found to indicate that Iran has deviated from the peaceful path of its nuclear program," Soltaniyeh said.

... Payvand News - 11/18/09 ... --

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