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    Iran still ready to discuss nuclear fuel swap

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    Tehran is still open to discussion on a nuclear fuel swap with any supplier, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

    Tehran is still open to discussion on a nuclear fuel swap with any supplier, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

    According to Fars news agency, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the country's "priority is to obtain fuel" for a Tehran medical research reactor.

    Under a UN-backed proposal, the fuel for the research reactor was to be provided by an international consortium in exchange for Iran's low-enriched uranium.

    However, Tehran says the West has failed to provide guarantees that the fuel will actually be delivered.

    Mehmanparast indicated that Iran was still open to a swap.

    "If the [International Atomic Energy] Agency suggests a country in possession of the 20-percent enriched fuel, we are ready to buy [the fuel]. Besides, if there are countries ready for a swap which will fulfill our conditions, we are ready; otherwise, we will produce the fuel [ourselves]," he was quoted by Press TV as saying.

    Iran began production of 20% enriched uranium in mid-February in the presence of the head of Iran's nuclear agency and International Atomic Energy Agency officials.

    Mehmanparast said punitive measures, such as threats of new sanctions against Iran, were groundless as Tehran's nuclear work was fully monitored by the UN nuclear watchdog.

    Under a plan drawn up in October 2009 by the UN nuclear watchdog and approved by the Iran Six group of major powers, 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 would 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.

    MOSCOW, April 13 (RIA Novosti) 

     

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