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Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Officials: Iran responds to fuel swap offer - Yahoo! News
"VIENNA – Iran has formally responded to a nuclear fuel swap proposal backed by the world's major powers with a counteroffer effectively rejecting their demand that Tehran export most of the material it would need to make a warhead, diplomats said Tuesday. For months, Iranian officials have used the media to criticize the plan and offer alternatives to one of its main conditions — that the Islamic republic ship out most of its stock of enriched uranium and then wait for up to a year for its return in the form of fuel rods for its Tehran research reactor. While critical of such statements, the United States and its allies said they did not constitute a formal response to the plan, first drawn up in early October in a landmark meeting in Geneva between Iran and the six world powers, and then refined later that month in Vienna talks among Iran, the U.S., Russia and France. The diplomats told The Associated Press that Iran first submitted such a written formal response to the International Atomic Energy Agency earlier this month in a Jan. 6 meeting between Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's chief representative to the IAEA, and agency chief Yukiya Amano. The IAEA-brokered talks in Vienna came up with a draft proposal that would take 70 percent of Iran's low-enriched uranium to reduce its stockpile of material that could be enriched to a higher level, and possibly be used to make nuclear weapons."