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Iran Sends Mixed Signals on Nuclear Deal

By VOA News
30 October 2009

Iran is reported to have rejected a United Nations-brokered uranium enrichment plan, while at the same time, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he welcomes nuclear cooperation with the West.

A Western official close to the negotiations says Iran told the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency that it will not accept the plan to ship its uranium abroad for low-level enrichment.

The proposal is aimed at preventing Iran from enriching uranium to the point that it can be used for nuclear weapons. It has already been agreed to by the other parties involved in negotiations - the United States, Russia and France.

The IAEA said it received Iran's "initial" response to the plan Thursday, but did not provide any details.

Earlier, President Ahmadinejad said Iran is ready to cooperate with Western nations on nuclear fuel and technology. But he insisted Iran would not stop its nuclear program.

Mr. Ahmadinejad during a televised address in the northeastern city of Mashhad hailed what he saw as a change in policy from Western countries, saying they have moved from "confrontation to cooperation."

Iran Kelly, a U.S. State Department spokesman, says the United States is still waiting to get an "official, formal response" from Iran.

A team of U.N. nuclear inspectors returned earlier Thursday from a visit to a previously secret uranium enrichment site in Iran. The head of the IAEA's four-member mission, Herman Nackaerts, said in Vienna the team had what he called a "good trip" and would now analyze the data collected at the site, near the city of Qom.

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

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee approved legislation imposing sanctions on companies that help Iran obtain refined petroleum products like gasoline. A similar measure was passed by a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday.

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



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