Iran issues ultimatum to West over nuclear fuel swap

Jan 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: Signs of the Times (click on article name)

Iran issues ultimatum to West over nuclear fuel swap

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the West should decide whether it wants to sell nuclear fuel to Iran or swap nuclear fuel for Iran’s low-enriched uranium, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Sunday.

“The international community has only one more month to make a decision. Otherwise, Tehran will enrich uranium to a higher purity needed for the fuel,” he said, adding that “This is an ultimatum.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said Saturday that according to the negotiations between Iran and the West, Western countries have until February to provide the nuclear fuel for Iran, the report said.

If they failed to do so, Iran would enrich uranium to a higher level, said the spokesman.

Tehran rejected a December 31 deadline set by the United States for Iran to accept a deal for swapping its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel outside Iran and demanded a simultaneous exchange inside the country.

Under a draft deal brokered by the UN nuclear watchdog, most of Iran’s existing low-grade enriched uranium would be shipped to Russia and France by the end of the year, where it would be processed into fuel rods with the purity of 20 percent.

The higher-level enriched uranium would be transported back to Iran to be used in a research reactor in Tehran for the manufacture of medical radioisotopes.

The United States and its Western allies have been accusing Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons under the disguise of civilian nuclear power. Iran has denied the accusation and stressed its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

The United States has threatened another round of UN sanctions against Iran if it does not abide by the year-end deadline.

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