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WikiLeaks: Pressure Within Iran Blocked Nuclear Deal

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks with state television about Iran's nuclear ambitions during a live program in Tehran, Dec 18, 2010

A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable reveals that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted a nuclear fuel swap agreement more than a year ago but was pressured internally from politicians who viewed it as a "virtual defeat."

The cable made available Tuesday on the WikiLeaks website describes a meeting in 2009 between a top U.S. envoy and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

The Turkish foreign minister said Iran's government was willing to work out a fuel swap arrangement, but that Ahmadinejad needed to manage public perception because he was facing "huge pressure" at home.

Davutoglu also suggested that Iran trusted the United States to deliver nuclear fuel more than it trusted Russia, which helped build Iran's nuclear power plant.

The U.S. has been one of the harshest critics of Iran's nuclear program, saying it is being used to build weapons. Iran says the program is for peaceful purposes only.

Turkey has a friendly relationship with Iran and is set to host the next round of talks on Tehran's nuclear program later this month.

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