Published — Sunday 14 October 2012
Last update 14 October 2012 7:05 am
DUBAI: Iran would negotiate on halting higher-grade uranium enrichment if given fuel for a research reactor, senior officials said, reviving a previous offer in a possible attempt to show flexibility in stalled nuclear talks with world powers.
“If a guarantee is provided to supply the 20 percent (enriched) fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, our officials are ready to enter talks about 20 percent enrichment,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at a Eurasian media forum in Kazakhstan on Friday, according to Iran’s Press TV.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel earlier in the week: “If our right to enrichment is recognized, we are prepared to offer an exchange. We would voluntarily limit the extent of our enrichment program, but in return we would need a guaranteed supply of the relevant fuels from abroad.”
Mehmanparast, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, spoke on the same day the European Union provisionally approved yet wider economic sanctions complementing US plans for further financial penalties.
Mehmanparast said any flexibility shown by Iran should be matched by reciprocal measures from world powers, including full recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium, according to Press TV yesterday.
There is no sign Iran’s readiness to discuss its enrichment of uranium to a fissile concentration of 20 percent would go anywhere near enough to satisfy the demands of the West.
World powers want Iran to stop 20 percent enrichment, shut down the Fordow underground centrifuge plant where this work is carried out and ship out its stockpile of this material.
Western officials say such gestures would serve to raise confidence in Iranian intentions but more would be needed to obtain any significant relief from sanctions.
According to the latest International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog report, issued in August, Iran has a stockpile of 20 percent uranium of just over 90 kg.