News24

Iran nukes: West has a month

2010-01-02 22:43

Tehran - Iran on Saturday gave the West a one-month "ultimatum" to accept a uranium swap, warning that if there is no deal it will produce its own nuclear fuel for a Tehran reactor, state television reported.

"The international community has just one month left to decide" whether or not it will accept Iran's conditions, otherwise "Tehran will enrich uranium to a higher level," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted as saying.

"This is an ultimatum," he said.

Iran, which rejected a December 31 deadline to accept a UN-brokered deal, said on Tuesday it is ready to swap abroad its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel, insisting however that the exchange should happen in stages.

Tehran has rejected a proposal by UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ship out most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium for further processing by Russia and France into fuel for a research reactor.

Iran ready

Iran said it was ready for a fuel swap "in several stages," and in late December Mottaki said Iran is open to exchanging uranium on Turkish soil. The IAEA has ruled out a swap taking place on Iranian territory.

World powers have been pushing for Iran to accept the UN-brokered deal and are also mulling plans to impose fresh UN sanctions against Tehran after the Islamic republic dismissed the year-end deadline.

Iran is already under three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to abandon its sensitive programme of uranium enrichment, the process which produces nuclear fuel or, in highly extended form, the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

The United States, Israel, and other world powers suspect Tehran is making an atomic bomb under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme. Iran denies the charge.