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2/10/10

Iran Says Studying New Nuclear Fuel Deal

Source: VOA

Iran says it is studying new proposals for a nuclear fuel deal from the United States, Russia and France, though Paris denies that any new offers were made.

Iranian media (ILNA) Monday quote the head of Iran's Atomic Energy organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, as saying the proposals were received after Tehran announced it was enriching its own uranium to a higher level.

French foreign ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero dismissed Salehi's claim, saying the only proposition to Iran is the one presented by the International Atomic Energy Agency last October.

Iran has given mixed signals on whether it will accept that proposal.   The deal would have Iran ship uranium abroad for further enrichment, to ease concerns about its ability to develop a nuclear weapon.

Last week, Iran said it began the process of enriching uranium to 20 percent in order to power a medical research reactor.

The move raised concerns that Iran could eventually enrich uranium to a high enough level that it could be used in a nuclear weapon.  And Iranian officials have claimed they have the capacity to do so.

However, Iran insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Iran is under three sets of sanctions from the U.N. Security Council for its refusal to halt its uranium enrichment process.  The United States and other world powers are pushing for a fourth round.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.


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