'Iran won't agree to fuel swap'

Top Khamenei adviser says West has proven its "diabolical" intents.

April 30, 2010 16:57
1 minute read.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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Iran will never agree to exchange its low-level enriched uranium for nuclear fuel rods enriched abroad, a top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday.

“We would be very naive to trust the West,” Ali Akbar Velayati, Khamenei's senior adviser on international affairs, told state news agency IRNA. “Why do they insist on moving the uranium abroad? This is proof of their diabolical intent.”

Iran will never trust the West with its uranium, he said.

Meanwhile the European Union's foreign affairs chief said Friday that China was willing to discuss sanctions on Iran as long as they were carefully targeted and bolstered efforts to curb the Iranian nuclear program.

EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Catherine Ashton said her discussions with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao show that China's position has evolved from agreeing in principal to discuss sanctions to recognizing that targeted sanctions play a role.

"We weren't discussing whether or not. We were discussing what sort" of sanctions, Ashton told reporters. She said that Wen wants to make sure that the sanctions are not so broad as to affect large segments of the population, but rather are targeted.

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As a permanent UN Security Council member with veto power and a major customer for Iran's oil and gas, China occupies a pivotal position in efforts to curb the Iranian nuclear program. Publicly, China has given no sign that it is moving beyond its stated position that dialogue rather than sanctions offer the best chances for success. Ashton said that she too supports a negotiated settlement but not endless talk.

A sign of whether the threat of sanctions is making Teheran more amenable could come next week. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will address a UN conference to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in New York on Monday. Ashton and representatives of the other countries involved in the Iran nuclear negotiations — the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and China — will also be at the conference.

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