Iran: We’ll Buy Enriched Uranium From Third Party


iran-ieae-ahmadinejadIran is willing to purchase uranium enriched to the grade it requires for its Tehran reactor from a third party, rather than carry out the enrichment itself, the French news agency AFP quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying yesterday. His remarks, ahead of today’s talks in Geneva¬†with six major world powers about Iran’s nuclear program, represent the first time Tehran has agreed to discuss specifics of its enrichment operations with the powers.”One of the subjects on the agenda of this negotiation is how we can get fuel for our Tehran reactor,” the president was quoted by Iran’s ISNA news agency as saying.

“As I said in New York, we need 19.75 percent-enriched uranium. We said that, and we propose to buy it from anybody who is ready to sell it to us. We are ready to give 3.5 percent-enriched uranium and then they can enrich it more and deliver to us 19.75 percent-enriched uranium,” Ahmadinejad explained.

The five megawatt plant was supplied by the United States before the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah. The reactor is under IAEA supervision.

Last week, Iran revealed that it had built a secret uranium enrichment plant near the city of Qom, saying the facility was months away from becoming operational.

U.S. representatives have held talks on a range of issues with Iranian officials in the past, including Afghanistan and Iraq, but today’s planned Geneva meeting will be the first time in years that the two countries will sit around one table and discuss topics relating to both, specifically Iran’s nuclear program.

Yesterday, senior Obama administration officials said that the United States would not threaten Iran with sanctions over its nuclear program at Geneva talks but will be prepared to pursue them if necessary.

“This is the engagement track tomorrow, not the pressure track,” one senior official said.

But the official said the United States has been preparing “a range of areas” in which to pursue sanctions against Iran should Tehran ignore Western entreaties about its nuclear program.

“We’ve looked at various contexts in which they could be applied, whether it be at the United Nations Security Council level or with coordinated national measures among nations,” the official said. “And it’s an ongoing project for us.”

Earlier yesterday, a U.S. official said that he thoguht “it’s pretty safe to predict that this is going to be an extraordinarily difficult process.”

“Our first task tomorrow is to establish whether the Iranians are ready to engage on the nuclear issue. Another urgent task for all of us is to support the IAEA in ensuring that Iran lives up to its obligation to full and unfettered access to the Qom site, the [recently revealed] clandestine facility, as well as to people and documents connected to that facility. Iranian officials have said in recent days that they’re going to offer transparency, but what we need to see now are not just words, but actions,” the official continued.

{Haaretz Service/Yair Israel}