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Iranian nuclear deal

October 29, 2009

Iran has welcomed the proposal by the UN's nuclear watchdog to enrich its uranium abroad, but it has further delayed giving a clear response on whether it will accept the deal.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei at the Iranian presidency in Tehran
Ahmedinejad wants changes to the deal proposed by ElBaradeiImage: AP

Iran proposed changes to a UN-sponsored deal to control its uranium stockpile on Thursday, apparently challenging the purpose of the agreement with France, Russia and the United States.

The Iranian response came nearly a week after the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) had asked for it. The IAEA described the response as "initial," but declined to provide further details.

Rocket launch from Iran.
The West sees the UN plan as a way for Iran to prove its nuclear program is purely peacefulImage: AP/ DW-Montage

The proposal would have Iran export low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for further enrichment. Then the uranium would be sent back to Tehran, where it would fuel a medical reactor.

Iran's proposed changes to the deal reportedly include exporting the approximately 1.3 tons of low-enriched uranium in several phases, as opposed to all at once.

Iran flexing its muscles

Iran's resistance appears to defy the basis of the proposal, which was to reduce its nuclear stockpile and thus quell fears in the West that Tehran is attempting to develop a nuclear weapon.

But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly claimed his country's nuclear ambitions are peaceful, and said on Iranian television on Thursday that the IAEA now has the chance to play its "real role" of helping countries develop civil nuclear technology.

The IAEA released a statement saying Director General Mohamed ElBaradei "is engaged in consultations with the government of Iran, as well as all relevant parties, with the hope that agreement on his proposal can be reached soon."

Editor: Chuck Penfold