Iran is set to formally notify the IAEA about Monday's nuclear swap deal with Turkey and Brazil, a top official in the Iranian nuclear establishment has said.
“The letter of Tehran declaration has been prepared and would be sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] in the near future,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's atomic energy establishment, during a news programme on Thursday.
The website of Iran's IRIB news agency quoted Mr. Salehi as saying Iran preferred to import nuclear fuel to run its medical reactor in Tehran, notwithstanding its capability to produce on its own, 20 per cent enriched uranium that is required for this purpose.
“We will be able to produce fuel rods in the future,” said Mr. Salehi, but added that Iran preferred “to import our necessary nuclear fuel”.
Referring to the civilian nuclear energy power plant that Iran was building with Russian help at the Iranian port city of Bushehr, Mr. Salehi said the atomic facility was undergoing its final tests, which would take a fortnight to conclude. In a sign of cautious optimism, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on a visit to Turkey said Monday's swap deal and “other initiatives may open the door to a negotiated settlement.”
Addressing a gathering at Istanbul's Bogazici University, Mr. Ban, however, cautioned that the IAEA “will provide its own professional assessment,” about the deal. The Secretary-General praised Turkey and Brazil for offering an important peaceful initiative in resolving international tensions over Iran's nuclear programme.
Despite Washington's apparent disregard for the nuclear swap deal, the initiative has been finding support in some prominent international quarters. The 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) “welcomed the nuclear swap agreement,” at the end of its Foreign Ministerial meeting in Dushanbe on Thursday. OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu at a press conference said: “As the OIC, we have extended support to the agreement.”
Following up on its initiative with Brazil, Turkey's Foreign Ministry in a statement has exhorted the “international community to use the positive atmosphere” to find a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear problem.
Separately, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday slammed the United States for its tepid response to the swap agreement. “There are people who don't know how to do politics without having an enemy,” said Mr. da Silva in reference to the U.S. administration.