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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Nations Weigh Iran Nuclear Proposal

By VOA News
22 October 2009

Iran, the United States, Russia and France are considering a draft proposal for Iran to ship low-enriched uranium abroad for conversion to fuel for an Iranian research reactor.

The International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, said he wants the document approved by Friday. He submitted the draft to negotiators Wednesday, at the end of two-and-a-half days of talks in Vienna.

Iranian media quote a senior Iranian lawmaker Thursday dismissed the draft proposal, saying it is not acceptable. But deputy parliament speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar does not speak for the government.

Details of the proposal have not been made public.

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said Wednesday that the draft proposal is "on the right track," but that Iran needs time to evaluate it.

Western diplomats say third-party uranium processing will ensure that Iran's uranium is enriched to levels suitable for civilian use but below what is needed for nuclear weapons.

In Washington Wednesday, U.S. State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters that the U.S. delegation at the Vienna talks found the draft acceptable.

Negotiators this week discussed a proposal to have Iran ship uranium to Russia and France for conversion to fuel for an Iranian research reactor. But talks stalled on Tuesday, after Iran expressed resistance to the prospect of dealing directly with France.

ElBaradei says this proposal under consideration involves France, but he did not say in what capacity.

Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran is opposed to France's involvement, and he accused the country of failing to deliver nuclear supplies in the past.

The United Nations Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt its enrichment activities.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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