Turkey Offers Help in Iran Nuclear Standoff
VOA News 20 April 2010
Turkey is offering to mediate the stalemate between the United Nations and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says his country is ready to play an intermediary role in a uranium exchange program. In a so-called "nuclear swap deal" Iran would export its low-enriched uranium abroad for further enrichment and conversion into fuel rods. Iran has so far rejected the deal proposing instead that the enrichment and conversion take place on Iranian soil.
In a joint news conference in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, the Turkish foreign minister, called for a diplomatic solution to resolve the nuclear standoff.
The United States has been leading efforts for the U.N. to impose a fourth round of sanctions on Iran for its nuclear enrichment activities. World powers believe Tehran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran has insisted its program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.
On Monday, Iran's ILNA news agency says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had approved an unspecified site for a new uranium enrichment facility. The agency quotes top presidential adviser Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi as saying construction will begin at the site upon the president's order.
Last November, Iran announced plans to build 10 uranium enrichment facilities. Iranian officials said earlier this year that construction would begin at two sites by March 2011.
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