17 May 2010

Iran agrees uranium deal with Turkey

8:24 pm on 17 May 2010

Iran has signed an agreement to send some of its low enriched uranium overseas in return for higher enriched fuel for a research reactor.

Turkey and Brazil offered to mediate talks to find a resolution to the impasse at a time when world powers are in talks to impose a fourth round of United Nations sanctions on Iran.

Iran's foreign ministry said it was ready to ship 1,200kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey, in return for nuclear fuel for a research reactor.

The BBC reports the plan could revive a United Nations-backed proposal and may ward off another round of sanctions.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is calling on world leaders for new talks, saying it was time for talks "with Iran based on honesty, justice and mutual respect".

The West, worried that Iran is trying to build a bomb, has been pushing for stiffer sanctions against Iran. Tehran denies having a weapons programme.

In October, Iran made a similar pledge but later backed off citing disagreement about the details of the deal.

Israel was quick to react to the deal, accusing Iran of "manipulating" Turkey and Brazil to stave off further sanctions.

Last year, Western powers proposed that Iran transfer its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium to Russia and France, who would process it into a form usable in a research reactor before returning it.

The deal was an attempt to allow Iran the benefits of nuclear energy without the concern of it having weapons capabilities. But Tehran rejected the idea.