Iran has delivered its response to a draft agreement on atomic fuel issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) amid assertions by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that inauguration of a new era of nuclear cooperation between Tehran and the global powers was now within reach.
Without going into details, the Iranian television channel Al Alam has reported that Iran submitted its response on Thursday to the IAEA on its proposal on further refinement abroad of most of Iran's domestically produced low-enriched uranium stockpile. The enriched material is to be returned to Iran as fuel for use in a Tehran reactor producing medical isotopes to treat cancer patients.
Iranian officials have said that they would not send Iranian low-enriched uranium stocks abroad for further refinement in one go, preferring instead staggered transfers of the material.
In Iran's northeast city of Mashhad, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a public address that Tehran was ready to cooperate with other countries in the nuclear energy domain as "conditions for nuclear cooperation on the international level have been provided".
"We welcome the exchange of fuel, technical cooperation and construction of power plants and reactors and we are prepared to cooperate [in these areas]," he said. Iran's resistance had persuaded Western countries to change their stance from that of "confrontation to interaction", Iran's Press TV quoted Mr. Ahmadinejad as saying.
"Once they told us to stop [nuclear work]. Now they express readiness to cooperate with us in exchange of fuel, expansion of the technology and construction of power plants and atomic reactors."
Mr. Ahmadinejad, however, stressed that Tehran expected global powers to "fulfil their previous obligations".
During talks in Vienna last week among Iran, United States, Russia and France, host IAEA had proposed that Iran should shift the bulk of its low enriched uranium stocks to Russia for further enrichment to a 19-20 per cent level. Russia, in turn, would send the material after further enrichment to France for conversion into metal fuel rods for the Tehran reactor.