Iran ready to resume talks on nuclear fuel swap scheme (UPDATE)

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Iran is ready to resume talks on the exchange of its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. During the news conference, the Iranian leader said Iran was able to produce its own 20%-enriched uranium. However, he said, Tehran is ready to halt this activities if acceptable terms of the exchange of low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel are agreed.

Iran is ready to resume talks on the exchange of its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said.

The statement came during a news conference in New York, where a review conference on nuclear non-proliferation is under way, following a call by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for Iran to resume six-party talks on its controversial nuclear program.

"We are ready to exchange our 3.5%-enriched uranium for 20%-enriched fuel. We are ready for talks, during which we may agree the terms," Ahmadinejad said, adding "we are ready to pay for this [the exchange of low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel] as much as necessary."

In line with a plan proposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Islamic Republic is 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 has stalled 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.

Ahmadinejad's statement comes as the six international mediators on the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program - Russia, the U.S., Britain, Germany, France and China - have begun discussing the text of the resolution to impose harsher sanctions on Iran over its continuing nuclear activities.

Western powers accuse Iran of attempting to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of peaceful nuclear generation.

During the news conference, the Iranian leader said Iran was able to produce its own 20%-enriched uranium. However, he said, Tehran is ready to halt this activities if acceptable terms of the exchange of low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel are agreed.

Ahmadinejad also said that Iran was not going to withdraw from the IAEA and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"My presence here (at the conference) shows that although we want to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but we will remain an active member of the NPT and the IAEA," he said.

NEW YORK, May 5 (RIA Novosti)

 

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