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Iran refuses to send uranium stockpile out of country

October 30, 2009

WASHINGTON – Just hours after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that “we are ready to cooperate” with the West, Tehran has backtracked from the deal agreed in Vienna last week to send its stockpile of uranium out of the country.

The Islamic country has reportedly told IAEA, UN’s nuclear watchdog that it won’t go along with the central feature of the draft agreement reached this weekend in Vienna.

The deal would have required the country to send about three-quarters of its current known stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia to be processed and returned for use in a reactor in Tehran used to make medical isotopes, The New York Times reports.

The details of Iran’s objections have neither made public by the Iranians nor the International Atomic Energy Agency.

But a senior European official termed the Iranian response to IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei as “basically a refusal.

“The Iranians want to keep all of their lightly enriched uranium in the country until receiving fuel bought from the West for the reactor in Tehran. The key issue is that Iran does not agree to export its lightly enriched uranium. That’s not a minor detail. That’s the whole point of the deal,” the official was quote, as saying.

American officials, however, were not clear about whether Iran’s declaration to Dr. ElBaradei was its final position, or it was seeking to renegotiate the deal.

According to the report, Iran’s rejection of the deal could unwind President Barack Obama’s effort to buy time to resolve the nuclear standoff.

American officials said they thought that the accord would give them a year or so to seek a broader nuclear agreement with Iran while defusing the possibility that Israel might try to attack Iran’s nuclear installations. (ANI)

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