Iran faces pressure on nuclear deal

The US, France and Russia back UN agency proposal over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

ElBaradei set Friday as the deadline for the four powers to accept or reject the proposal [EPA]
ElBaradei set Friday as the deadline for the four powers to accept or reject the proposal [EPA]

“France hopes a peaceful solution … will be found and accepted and that nuclear development is not used for military purposes. That much is clear.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA director-general, set Friday as the deadline for the four powers to sign up to the arrangement after their meeting on Wednesday.

The US and its allies are hoping to secure Iran’s approval to ease Western fears about Iran’s suspected ambition to make a nuclear weapon – a charge Tehran denies.

Iranian proposals

Iranian state television reported on Friday that Tehran wanted to buy nuclear fuel for a research reactor rather than accept the drafted plan, but did not officially reject the IAEA proposal.

“Iran is interested in buying fuel for the Tehran research reactor within the framework of a clear proposal … we are waiting for the other party’s constructive and trust-building response,” a member of its negotiating team was quoted as saying.

But a US official told the Reuters news agency that Washington did not regard the report as Tehran’s official response to the plan.

Iranian opposition to the UN plan could be driven by concerns that it would weaken Iran’s control over its stockpiles of nuclear fuel and could be perceived as a concession to the US.

Iran has reportedly called for responses to its own proposals on its nuclear programme, although details of this were not made available.

“Now we are awaiting a positive and constructive response on Iran’s proposal from the other party on providing nuclear fuel for Tehran’s reactor,” Iranian state television quoted a member of Iran’s team at the IAEA as saying.

A source close to Saeed Jalili, Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator, told Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri in Tehran that it will not agree to give away 75 per cent of its enriched uranium stockpile, which is recommended under the proposal.

The unnamed source says Iran will say how much they will export and that it is not up to other nations to tell them what to do, our correspondent said.

Nuclear ambitions

The plan is being seen by the international community as a way to curb Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon, which it denies it plans to do.

Exact details of ElBaradei’s arrangement are not yet known, but diplomats say it calls on Iran to hand over 1,200kg of the low-enriched uranium it has to Russia by the end of the year.

Russia would enrich the material to the 19.75 per cent needed to use it in a research reactor that makes radio-isotopes for medical use.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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