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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran, Brazil, Turkey sign nuclear fuel swap agreement

RIA Novosti

12:0617/05/2010 MOSCOW, May 17 (RIA Novosti) - The Iranian, Brazilian, and Turkish foreign ministers signed an agreement on Monday on the exchange of low-enriched uranium to fuel Tehran's scientific research reactor, AFP reported.

Earlier on Monday, an Iranian Foreign Ministry official representative said that Tehran had agreed to swap in Turkey most of its 3.5%-enriched uranium for 20%-enriched fuel for use in its Tehran scientific research reactor.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said some 1,200 kilograms of Iran's low-enriched uranium will be swapped.

Arabic media reported that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on Monday in Iran's capital to complete the agreement, and after 18 hours of talks the foreign ministers of the three countries agreed on the exchange.

Ahead of the Brazilian president's visit to Tehran, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton predicted the Brazilian-Turkish mediation effort would fail.

Iran has been under international pressure to halt uranium enrichment, needed both for electricity generation and weapons production. Tehran has repeatedly rejected the demand, insisting it is pursuing a purely civilian program. Several Western powers have called for harsher sanctions against Tehran if it does not agree to halt uranium enrichment.

The United States and other Western countries suspected Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear energy program and were seeking new sanctions following Iran's move to enrich uranium to 20%.

Weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90%.

The Iran Six (France, Britain, Germany, the United States, Russia and China) began on April 19 discussing the text of a draft resolution imposing sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear program.

Russia and China, who have the right to veto Security Council's decisions, insisted on resolving Iran's nuclear issue peacefully, but the United States, Britain, France and Germany were pushing for harsher sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

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