A top Iranian nuclear negotiator says Tehran might consider stopping
its controversial uranium enrichment program if it gets a guaranteed
supply of fuel from abroad.
Iran's envoy to the International
Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, said Thursday Iran might
reconsider its stance in exchange for a legally binding agreement on a
secure fuel supply for its nuclear power plants.
But he also indicated
that Iran might want to retain some enrichment capacity as what he
called "a contingency," in case the outside supplies of nuclear fuel
would be cut off.
Iran has ignored U.N. resolutions demanding
that it stop uranium enrichment. U.S. and European governments fear
that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran denies that and
says it wants only to produce low-grade fuel for nuclear energy.
The same enrichment process also could be used to produce highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.
previously has offered to supply Iran with fuel for its nuclear power
plants, in an effort to end the enrichment standoff. Iran has rejected
those offers in the past.
Soltanieh's comment marks a departure
from Iran's long-standing insistence that it has the right to enrich
uranium. But diplomats say it is not likely that the IAEA would be
willing or able to agree to his conditions anytime soon.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.