Iran: Brazil and Turkey make new nuclear proposal
By NASSER KARIMI
The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 11, 2010; 7:58 AM
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran said Tuesday that Brazil and Turkey have offered
a promising new proposal for a nuclear fuel deal as Tehran steps up a
diplomatic push to stave off new U.N. sanctions over its disputed
Tehran has made a series of counteroffers after rejecting a
U.N.-backed plan that offered nuclear fuel rods for a reactor in
exchange for Iran’s stock of lower-level enriched uranium. But they
appear to fall short of Western demands aimed at ensuring Tehran is
unable to produce nuclear weapons.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said during a
weekly news briefing that the latest talks with Turkey and Brazil have
produced "a new formula that could pave the ground for understanding."
He didn’t elaborate but said Iran has not accepted any proposal for
sending its low-enriched uranium abroad yet.
The Brazilian and Turkish presidents will travel to Iran next week
following recent visits by their foreign ministers, Mehmanparast said.
Iran also will host a summit of developing countries known as the
Group of 15 next week, with at least eight presidents in attendance,
Top Iranian officials have been courting Brazil, Turkey and other
non-permanent Security Council members to pre-empt possible sanctions.
Only permanent Council members could veto proposed sanctions, but
strong opposition by non-permanent members could strengthen Iran’s
Brazil and Turkey had no immediate comment on Iran’s announcement, but
both countries have urged further diplomatic efforts to resolve the
Brazil has urged Western nations to negotiate a fair solution with
Iran over its nuclear program and called on Tehran to provide
guarantees that its nuclear program has no military ambitions.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said he would travel
to Iran later this month to "ensure peace in the world, to ensure that
there is a policy of nuclear disarmament in the world."
The call for sanctions stepped up after Iran last year rejected a
U.N.-backed plan that offered nuclear fuel rods to a Tehran reactor in
exchange for Iran’s stock of lower-level enriched uranium. The swap
would have curbed Iran’s capacity to make a nuclear bomb.
Under the U.N. proposal, Iran was to send 2,420 pounds (1,100
kilograms) of low-enriched uranium abroad, where it would be further
enriched to 20 percent and converted into fuel rods. The rods, which
are needed to power a research reactor, would then be returned to
Iran. Sending its low-enriched uranium abroad would leave Iran with
insufficient stocks to enrich further to weapons-grade level.
Iran, which denies any plan for making nuclear arms, has made several
alternate proposals to the West, including one to swap smaller batches
of Iran’s low-enriched uranium.
But the U.S. and its allies say the proposals obviate the goal of
rendering Iran unable to build a nuclear-powered warhead.