No new nuclear proposals to Iran - Russia

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Russia dismissed on Monday reports that world powers had made new offers to Iran on uranium reprocessing in a bid to defuse growing tensions over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

Russia dismissed on Monday reports that world powers had made new offers to Iran on uranium reprocessing in a bid to defuse growing tensions over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

"There have been no new offers," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

He added that Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi's earlier statement on new offers was most likely a reference to a scheme drawn up in Vienna last October by the UN nuclear watchdog and approved by the Iran Six of the U.S., Russia, Britain, China, Germany and France.

The spokesman confirmed that the offer remained on the table, despite Iran's recent decision to begin enriching uranium to 20%.

In line with the Vienna plan, the Islamic Republic was to ship out its low-enriched uranium to Russia for further enrichment and subsequently send it to France where it would be made into fuel rods.

Tehran stalled and then rejected the plan, suggesting it could consider a simultaneous swap of its low-enriched uranium for 20%-enriched uranium, but that the exchange should be simultaneous and would have to take place on its own territory.

Iran's move to begin enriching uranium to 20% drew stinging criticism from U.S. President Barack Obama, who said on Tuesday that Washington and its allies would begin developing "significant" new sanctions against Tehran.

Obama also praised Russia's "forward-leaning" statements on the issue after Russia's security chief Nikolai Patrushev said Iran's actions meant that fears by Western powers over the nature of its nuclear program were "reasonable."

MOSCOW, February 15 (RIA Novosti)

 

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