Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Iranian Regime Wants Changes to Nuclear Fuel Plan

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Iran will ask for “important” changes to a proposal from the United Nations nuclear agency that would provide fuel for a research reactor in Tehran, state- run Al Alam television said. The Persian Gulf country will give its response to the plan in the next 48 hours, the Arabic-language station said on its Web site, citing what it described as an informed person. It didn’t elaborate on the changes. Iran on Oct. 23 missed a deadline for its response to a proposal by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency to ship most of its stock of low-enriched uranium to Russia for further processing. The country said it would reply to the IAEA this week about the plan, under which the material would be returned as metal rods that could only be used in a reactor and not in a nuclear weapon. Uranium enriched to higher concentrations can be used to form the core of a bomb. “Our opinion is to buy nuclear fuel without sending any of our stockpile abroad,” Alaeddin Borujerdi, head of the parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, was cited as saying by the state-run Iranian Students News Agency.

If Iran decides to export its uranium stockpile for further processing into reactor fuel, the better solution is for the shipments to be made in stages and not all at once, he said. Any changes by Iran to proposals for the processing of its nuclear fuel wouldn’t send a “very encouraging sign,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said. “Don’t think the Iranians are gaining time,” Kouchner told reporters after a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg today. “Time is working against the Iranians.” A continued standoff could lead to “completely unforeseeable” consequences, Kouchner said. Iranian officials have said they would continue to enrich uranium as part of a peaceful nuclear program, even if some of its supply is sent to Russia for further enrichment. Acceptance of the Tehran reactor deal by Iran would improve prospects for further talks over its atomic program, which the U.S. and its allies say is a cover for weapons development. Iran rejects the accusations, saying its program is solely for civilian purposes.