US Reacts Warily as Iran Accepts Nuclear Deal Terms
Reacting warily to Iran’s acceptance of a deal to swap enriched uranium for nuclear fuel, US has that if this is a new offer, it is ‘prepared to listen’, reported BBC.
Earlier, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had said that Iran would have ‘no problem’ if most of its stock was held for several months before being returned as fuel rods.
Shorty after president’s statement, Iranian state TV announced the successful launch of a satellite rocket carrying an ‘experimental capsule’.
In an initial reaction, US State Department spokesman P J Crowley was quoted as saying “The US was not prepared to change the deal. We are not interested in renegotiating it.”
Later, a White House official was quoted as saying by BBC: “If Mr Ahmadinejad’s comments reflect an updated Iranian position, we look forward to Iran informing the IAEA.”
The official added: “If Iran has something new to say, we are prepared to listen.”
It may be mentioned that Iran has insisted that its nuclear programme and rocket programme are entirely peaceful, but the West has been concerned about Iran’s growing missile technology and possible links to its nuclear programme.
A deal was struck in October last year between Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the so-called P5+1 – the US, Russia, China, UK, France plus Germany – which envisaged that Iran would send about 70% of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France where it would be processed into fuel for a research reactor.
However, last month diplomat said that Iran had told IAEA that it did not accept the terms of the deal and had instead demanded a simultaneous exchange on its territory.
On Tuesday, in a state TV interview, President Ahmadinejad rejected concerns of his ‘colleague’ that the West would retain the uranium, said report.
“We have no problem sending our enriched uranium abroad,” he said.
“We say, ‘We will give you our 3.5% enriched uranium,’ and will get the fuel. It may take four to five months until we get the fuel.”
BBC reported that there would still be doubt about whether President Ahmadinejad’s offer is anything more than a delaying tactic designed to fend off fresh sanctions.
Ahmadinejad also said that there were negotiations about a possible prisoner swap for several Iranians jailed in the US for the three American hikers currently being held in Iran.
“There are some talks under way to have an exchange, if it is possible,” he said. “We are hopeful that all prisoners will be released.”