Iran has begun talks in Vienna with the United States, France, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but has warned that it would enrich uranium on its own for its reactor in Tehran if negotiations failed to meet its expectations.
“If the negotiations do not yield the desired results, we will write a letter and announce to the IAEA that Iran would act directly to supply the fuel for the Tehran reactor,” state-run IRNA news agency quoted Ali Shirzadian, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation.
On October 1, Iran had during talks in Geneva with the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany agreed “in principle” to transfer abroad, most of its stockpile of low enriched uranium for further refinement. While Iran has so far enriched uranium to a less than 5 per cent level, it requires nuclear material enriched to a 19-20 per cent level for producing isotopes that are used for nuclear medicine in its Tehran facility.
“Iran has capabilities to enrich uranium to the 20 percent level [on its own],” Mr. Shirzadin observed.
In an apparent departure from the understanding reached in Geneva, Iran now wants to discuss the terms of a deal to purchase highly-enriched uranium without exchanging any of Tehran’s low-enriched uranium, Iran’s state-run Press TV reported.
Iran’s envoy to the IAEA Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh is heading the Iranian delegation to the talks which will focus on Tehran’s purchase of uranium enriched to 20 per cent for producing radio-medicine, the television channel said. The Vienna talks were likely to run 2-3 days and are likely to go into details about the technical and legal aspects of a possible deal.
The meeting is being held against the backdrop of a deadly suicide bombing on Sunday which killed top commanders of the elite Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Iran has alleged the U.S., British and Pakistani involvement in the strike.