Turkey 'will aid Iran uranium swap'

Prime minister says his country ready to act as venue for proposed nuclear exchange.

    Erdogan said Turkey hopes to help resolve the crisis over Iran's controversial nuclear programme

    "We hope that we will get a positive response out of these meetings and that these problems will come to an end."

    Nuclear proposal

    In its efforts to contain Iran's nuclear programme, the West has pushed the proposal by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for Iran to ship its low-enriched uranium abroad.

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    There it would be refined and returned for use in Tehran's medical research reactor.

    Although Iran has said it is ready "in principle" to sign on to the proposal, a venue for the exchange has yet to be agreed and Iran has insisted that not all its low-enriched uranium be shipped out in one go.

    Turkey has repeatedly offered to serve as mediator between Iran and the West, which accuses Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons and is seeking to impose fresh sanctions.

    Tehran denies the accusations, maintaining that its nuclear programme is for purely civilian purposes.

    But tensions mounted last week when Iran announced that it has started the process of producing 20 per cent enriched uranium, defying Western threats of fresh sanctions.

    Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, told delegates to a conference in Qatar on Sunday that "evidence is accumulating" that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

    The US and its allies are pushing for a fourth round of sanctions, which Clinton said would expressly target Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

    But Turkey insists the row should be resolved through dialogue, arguing that economic sanctions or military action against Iran would have a damaging impact on the whole region.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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