30 April 2010
Iran will never accept swapping its uranium with nuclear fuel abroad, a top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei has said. "We must be very naive to trust the West ... Why do they insist on swapping nuclear fuel abroad? It shows they have satanic intentions," Ali Akbar Velayati, senior adviser on international affairs and a former foreign minister of Iran, told the state-run news agency IRNA. "Iran will never trust the West to send its low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad," he said.
Turkey has suggested itself as a third country where the uranium could be exchanged. Asked whether such a swap could happen in Turkey – a NATO member which has a border with Iran and is also a temporary member of the UN Security Council – Velayati said: "The West can break its promises easily ... and Turkey cannot force them to fulfill their promises."
Iran agreed to a Western offer last October to ship 1,200 kg of its LEU, which would be enough to make a single atomic bomb if enriched to a higher level, to Russia and France to make into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. However, Tehran later said it would only swap its LEU for higher grade material and only on Iranian territory, conditions the other parties said were unacceptable.
Iran started enriching uranium to a higher level itself in February to create fuel for the research reactor. The move brings Iran's enrichment closer to levels needed for making weapons-grade material, i.e. uranium refined to 90 percent grade.
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