Ahmadinejad: Iran ready to send uranium abroad as UN wants

By BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 2, 2010 23:23

In policy about-face, Iranian president rejects critics, saying that if West doesn't fulfill deal, Iran will resume uranium enrichment on its own.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 311. (photo credit:AP)

TEHERAN - Iran said on Tuesday it was ready to send its uranium abroad for further enrichment as requested by the UN.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the decision in an interview with state Iranian television.

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He said Iran will have "no problem" giving the West its low enriched uranium and taking it back several months later when it is enriched by 20 percent.

The decision is a major shift in the Iranian position on the issue.

For months, Iranian officials have used the media to criticize the plan and offer alternatives to one of its main conditions — shipping the uranium abroad for enrichment.

The West suspects that Iran's nuclear program is geared toward acquiring atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge and says the program is for peaceful purposes.

"If we allow them to take it, there is no problem. We sign a contract to give 3.5 percent enriched uranium and receive 20 percent enriched one after four or five months," Ahmadinejad said.

He dismissed concerns by what he called "colleagues" that the West would not return the uranium, saying Iran would respond to that by continuing to produce its own enriched uranium.

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