Iran FM optimistic on nuke fuel deal

Mottaki hopes fuel exchange will go into operation in near future.

Mottaki Amorim 311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Mottaki Amorim 311
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Tuesday expressed optimism Teheran would soon strike a deal with the international community to provide his country with nuclear fuel — the latest in a new Iranian diplomatic push to stave off fresh UN sanctions over its controversial nuclear program.
As part of the push, top Iranian officials have been courting some non-permanent Security Council members to pre-empt possible sanctions.
Mottaki held talks with Bosnian leaders Monday after making little progress in Austria over the weekend. And last week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Uganda, another non-permanent member of the 15-nation Council.
On Tuesday, Mottaki held talks with visiting Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim.
"We are hopeful to see a fuel exchange go into operation in the near future," Mottaki said, adding that Brazil, also a non-permanent member, could play a more effective decision-making role in the Council.
Last year, Iran rejected a UN-backed plan that offered nuclear fuel rods to a Teheran reactor in exchange for Iran's stock of lower-level enriched uranium. The swap would have curbed Iran's capacity to make a nuclear bomb.
Amorim said both Iran and the West should show more flexibility in efforts to find a peaceful solution. Iran should provide guarantee that its nuclear program has no military ambitions in return for enjoying its right to have peaceful nuclear technology, the Brazilian top diplomat said.
Separately, Amorim was quoted as saying in an interview with the official IRNA news agency that a swap between Iran and the West could take place in Brazil, if his country was asked to host the exchange.
"Such a proposal has not been offered to us so far," Amorim said, according to IRNA. "If we receive it, we consider it."