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Middle East

Tehran will buy uranium from a third party, Ahmadinejad says


Latest update : 2009-10-01

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he is prepared to buy the necessary enriched uranium from a third party for its Tehran reactor, ahead of talks in Geneva on Thursday with six major world powers.

AFP - Iran will propose that it is prepared to buy from a third party uranium enriched to the grade it requires for its Tehran reactor rather than carry out the enrichment itself, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday.

His remarks, ahead of Thursday talks in Geneva with six major world powers about Iran's nuclear programme, represent the first time Tehran has agreed to discuss specifics of its enrichment operations with the powers.

"One of the subjects on the agenda of this negotiation is how we can get fuel for our Tehran reactor," the president was quoted by ISNA news agency as saying.

"As I said in New York, we need 19.75 percent-enriched uranium. We said that, and we propose to buy it from anybody who is ready to sell it to us. We are ready to give 3.5 percent-enriched uranium and then they can enrich it more and deliver to us 19.75 percent-enriched uranium."

In New York last week, Ahmadinejad said Iran would seek to enrich uranium to 20 percent itself if it could not find the product in the market for its research reactor in Tehran.

The five megawatt plant was supplied by the United States before the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the US-backed shah. The reactor is under IAEA supervision.

"Some countries individually and collectively made some proposals to us but on Thursday this question will be on the table," Ahmadinejad said.

"Our nuclear experts are ready to study and negotiate with these countries who gave the proposals and are ready to provide us with fuel.

"On Thursday we are going to these negotiations with a strong and elaborate plan. The Iranian delegation is ready to welcome all proposals for a collective cooperation. Tomorrow's negotiations are very important."

In remarks to journalists on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad lashed out at criticisms over Iran's disclosure last week of a new enrichment plant and said his country would not be "harmed" by the outcome of the talks.

"The negotiators can definitely adopt any policy that they want, but we will not be harmed," the Fars new agency quoted the president as saying.

"Iran has prepared itself for any condition and our nation has learnt over the past 30 years to stand on its feet and change any circumstance to its benefit."

He also made the announcement about the enrichment proposal but the details were not immediately clear.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili is to meet representatives of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

World powers are piling pressure on Iran to come clean about its disputed nuclear activities.

Uranium enrichment is the sensitive process that lies at the centre of Western concerns over Iran's real amibitions.

The process can produce the fuel for nuclear power or, in highly extended form, the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

Iran's current programme permits enrichment to reach five percent. A full 90 percent would be required to produce a bomb.

The IAEA said last week that Iran had informed it that it was building the new uranium enrichment plant near the central holy city of Qom.

The news sparked an international outcry and Washington called on Tehran to agree to "immediate, unfettered access" by IAEA inspectors to the site which is being built adjacent to a military base south of Tehran.

State television's website quoted Ahmadinejad as saying "the leaders of these countries made a historic mistake with their comments about the new plant.

"After this they also said Iran must give access to the facility as quickly as possible," the hardline president said.

"Who are you to tell the agency (International Atomic Energy Agency) and Iran what to do?" he added, referring to the UN nuclear watchdog.

Ahmadinejad said the Geneva talks give an "exceptional opportunity for US and a few European countries to correct the way they interact with other world nations."

As he left Tehran for Geneva on Wednesday, chief Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili said he was adopting a "positive approach" towards the talks.

"We are going to Europe for this negotiation with a positive approach and I hope this is an opportunity for others also," Jalili he said.

Ahmadinejad's media advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, warned that Iran would not allow "power and force to rule the negotiation".

"We remind the Western parties in the Geneva talks of the necessity of using the culture of negotiation and avoiding immoral concepts of stick and carrot," Javanfekr said in a statement to AFP.

Date created : 2009-09-30