Iranian official says Tehran rejects uranium enrichment offer
Iran's deputy parliament speaker has dismissed an internationally backed draft plan to have Tehran ship its uranium abroad for enrichment. Mohammad Reza Bahonar was quoted by the official IRNA news agency on Thursday as saying Iran "doesn't accept" the offer.
Meanwhile, Iran has said it will not give up its right to enrich uranium to more than five percent purity even if it signs a deal for a third party to do it. "As we have said before, we will not give up our rights," Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, was quoted by AFP on Thursday as saying. "There is actually no need for us to enrich uranium to more than four or five percent purity as the reactors that we use need uranium enriched to a maximum of five percent," he said.
"So, enrichment to five percent is the highest level that we want for our reactors. But that does not mean that we will renounce our right to enrich uranium level to a higher level."
Reports Wednesday said the UN atomic watchdog drew up a draft agreement for Russia to process Iranian low-enriched uranium to the 20 percent required by a research reactor in Tehran and for France to turn it into fuel form. That followed two and a half days of talks in Vienna also involving the United States.
"Iran has the capability to enrich uranium to 20 percent but prefers to obtain the fuel from abroad," Salehi said. "This policy has numerous hidden messages that I would rather not go into," the Iranian official added.