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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Israel drops opposition to Iran enrichment deal

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) -- The Israeli government seems to be retracting its opposition to a UN plan for Western nuclear cooperation with Tehran, Iranian media reports say.

According to Press TV, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that the proposal, which requires Iran to ship out 80 percent of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) in exchange for highly-enriched uranium converted into metal fuel rods, is "a positive first step."

IAEA initiatives envision that Iran's low-enriched uranium, produced at a nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, will undergo further enrichment in Russia. France would later make fuel assemblies.

However, an influential Iranian lawmaker on Saturday criticized the plan due to a lack of guarantees over its return.

"There is no guarantee that the fuel will be retuned to Iran," said Kazem Jalali, rapporteur of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

France on Friday demanded Iran immediately provide an official response to a package of proposals on nuclear fuel supplies.

On Thursday, the UN nuclear watchdog said it "received an initial response from the Iranian authorities to [its] proposal to use Iran's low-enriched uranium for manufacturing fuel for the continued operation of the Tehran Research Reactor, which is devoted mainly to producing radioisotopes for medical purposes."

Iran was to respond to IAEA proposals last Friday, but delayed the step until the middle of this week. Earlier Iranian media said Tehran "in its final response expressed consent with the project's main provisions but introduced certain changes."

The leaders of 27 EU countries who concluded on Friday a two-day meeting in Brussels have called on Iran to adopt the UN nuclear watchdog's scheme.

The U.S. and other Western countries suspect Iran of working to create nuclear weapons but Iran says it needs nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.

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