Russia envoy: 'UN-backed deal good for Iran'

Ahmadinejad We now deal

By AP, JPOST.COM STAFF
November 1, 2009 11:07
2 minute read.

 
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Russia's ambassador to Iran on Sunday urged Teheran to agree to a UN-backed proposal to ship its uranium abroad for enrichment, saying the deal was "beneficial" to the Islamic republic. "We believe that reaching this agreement and signing the technical contract to produce fuel for the Teheran reactor is beneficial to Iran and will help in resolving the nuclear issue," Alexander Sadovnikov said in an interview with the official IRNA news agency, according to AFP. "This is not to trick Iran in order to take its low-enriched uranium out of its hands," Sadovnikov reportedly added. Earlier Sunday, however, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad compared the power of Iran's enemies to a "mosquito," saying Iran now deals with the West over its nuclear activities from a position of power. The comment from Ahmadinejad came as Iran is negotiating with the West over a UN-brokered proposal to ship the country's uranium abroad for further enrichment. The UN-backed plan would require Iran to send 1.2 tons (or 1,100 kilograms) of low-enriched uranium - around 70 percent of its stockpile - to Russia in one batch by year's end, for processing to create more refined fuel for a Teheran research reactor. Iran has indicated that it may agree to send only "part" of its stockpile in several shipments. Should the talks fail to help Iran obtain the fuel from abroad, Iran has threatened to enrich uranium to the higher level needed to power the research reactor itself domestically. After further enrichment in Russia, France would convert the uranium into fuel rods that would be returned to Iran for use in the reactor in Teheran that produces medical isotopes. "While enemies have used all their capacities ... the Iranian nation is standing powerfully and they are like a mosquito," a government Web site quoted Ahmadinejad early Sunday as saying. Ahmadinejad also said Iran doesn't trust the West when it sits for talks. "Given the negative record of Western powers, the Iranian government ... looks at the talks with no trust. But realities dictate to them to interact with the Iranian nation," he said according to the site. The US and its allies have been pushing for the UN-backed agreement as a way to reduce Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium to prevent the possibility that Iran may turn them into weapons-grade uranium, materials needed for the core of a nuclear bomb. Iranian opposition to the UN plan could be driven by concerns that the proposal would weaken Iran's control over its stockpiles of nuclear fuel and could be perceived as a concession to the West. The Teheran reactor needs uranium enriched to about 20 percent, higher than the 3.5 percent-enriched uranium that Iran is producing for a nuclear power plant it plans to build in southwestern Iran. Enriching uranium to even higher levels can produce weapons-grade materials. Iranian officials have said it is more economical to purchase the more highly enriched uranium needed for the Teheran reactor than to produce it domestically.

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