Just days before Iran is set to return to negotiations with six world powers over its controversial nuclear program, Tehran has offered a compromise. However, it also says it will accept no preconditions.
Iran has indicated that it is ready to compromise on a key issue in upcoming talks with six world powers on its controversial nuclear program.
Iranian media on Monday quoted the head of the country's nuclear agency as saying that Tehran could agree to halt its production of 20-percent enriched uranium while continuing to enrich uranium to a lower level for use in power generation.
"Once the necessary fuel is obtained, we will scale back production and maybe even convert it to 3.5 percent," Fereidoun Abassi said.
It wasn't clear whether this would go far enough to allay the fears of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany.
However, Western nations in particular have expressed concerns about Iran's successful production of uranium enriched to 20 percent. While Iran would have to enrich uranium to more than 90 percent in order to produce a bomb, many fear the 20-percent achievement has brought Iran closer to that goal.
Tehran insists that its nuclear program is meant for peaceful purposes only.
At the same time Abassi rejected the idea of reviving a nuclear swap deal with Western powers, which collapsed three years ago.
"The Islamic Republic won't turn back and has no interest in receiving 20-percent fuel from other countries because it has made an investment," Abbasi-Davani said.
Meanwhile, Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi said that while he hopes the talks, which are to open in Turkey next Saturday, will make progress, Iran will not accept any preconditions.
"Putting forward preconditions before the meeting happens is equivalent to reaching a conclusion before the negotiations start. It is completely meaningless. No one will accept preconditions before the talks," Salehi said in a report posted on the Iranian parliament's website.
He was reacting to a report in the New York Times newspaper which cited US and EU diplomats as saying they would use the negotiations to demand that Iran close its underground nuclear bunker in Fordo and stop enriching uranium to 20 percent.
pfd/mz (AP, AFP, Reuters)