FM: Iran won't ship out enriched uranium
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Wednesday said Tehran is considering to exchange its enriched uranium with nuclear fuel inside the country. "Iran will not send its 3.5-percent-enriched uranium out of the country," ISNA quoted Mottaki as saying. "That means we are considering to exchange the enriched uranium inside Iran," he explained.
Under a mid-October proposal discussed in Vienna, Iran is asked to send most of its domestically produced low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad to be converted into more highly enriched fuel rods for the Tehran reactor, which produces medical isotopes.
"The notion that Iran has not yet responded to the proposal [put forth by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] is mere propaganda," The Iranian minister said, adding that the country had already responded to the agency. "In fact, they want our response to be whatever they dictate to us!" he added.
Iran prefers to domestically enrich uranium to 20 percent, or buy the 20-percent-enriched uranium that it needs rather than exchanging its LEU with fuel rods, Mottaki said. "However, since they were insisting on the exchange, we decided to open a window of opportunity and study different aspects of this possibility... But since their estimate about the amount of fuel to be exchanged runs counter to that of our experts, technical examinations are still ongoing," Mottaki added.