Iran, Brazil and Turkey signed an agreement today over a nuclear fuel swap designed to allay international concern over the Islamic Republic's atomic ambitions.Iran said it had agreed to swap 1,200 kg of its low-enriched uranium for higher-enriched nuclear fuel, to be used in a medical research reactor. The exchange would take place in Turkey, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.
Iran, which rejects Western accusations it is seeking to develop nuclear bombs, had earlier insisted such a swap must take place on its territory.
Turkey and Brazil, both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, had offered to mediate to find a resolution to the impasse at a time when world powers are in talks to impose a fourth round of UN sanctions on Iran.
Mehmanparast said Iran will officially notify the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the agreement "within a week." "The IAEA should inform the Vienna group (United States, France and Russia) of this proposal," he said.
Israel, which along with many Western powers suspects Iran is using its nuclear enrichment programme to mask a drive for atomic weapons, immediately accused Tehran of "manipulating" Turkey and Brazil over the deal.
There was no immediate reaction from the IAEA which, in its proposal, had suggested Iran send its uranium stockpile to Russia to be further enriched and then on to France to make nuclear fuel for a research reactor in Tehran.
Mehmanparast said the uranium stockpile in Turkey will be under Iran's and the IAEA's supervision. "We hope the other party accepts this proposal." If world powers agree "Iran will ship its low enriched uranium during a period of one month to Turkey," the spokesman said