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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia seeks 'flexibility' from Iran on nuclear fuel swap deal

RIA Novosti

22:5904/05/2010 UNITED NATIONS, May 4 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is counting on Iran to show "additional flexibility" regarding a proposed nuclear fuel exchange, a Russian deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday.

"Thus far, the parties' approaches on how to exchange nuclear materials, on what basis, when and in what amounts have not been brought to a common position," Sergei Ryabkov said.

"Nevertheless, we continue working and count on additional flexibility on the part of Iran, among others," he added.

He also said talks between the group of six international mediators on Iran's nuclear issue - Russia, the United States, China, Britain, France and Germany - were making very slow progress, but Moscow still hoped that a common line would eventually be worked out.

"I would not exaggerate the differences... I am cautiously optimistic," he said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said earlier in the day his country was ready to play a "constructive and positive" role in breaking the stalemate over the nuclear fuel swap deal.

The UN-sponsored deal to supply nuclear fuel for a research reactor in Tehran proposes Iran ship out low-enriched uranium to be processed into higher-grade nuclear fuel and then returned to Iran.

However, the deal stalled over Iran's insistence that it would accept nothing less than a simultaneous exchange inside the Islamic republic, saying it had not received guarantees the fuel would actually be delivered.

Ahmadinejad's offer came in talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York on Monday on the sidelines of the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Concerning Iran's cooperation with Europe, Ahmadinejad said Iran was ready to cooperate with the European Union on a wide range of issues.

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