Were the United Nations Security Council to go ahead with new sanctions against Iran, the mediation pushed forward by Turkey and Brazil on the nuclear issue would fall through, Tehran’s foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Wednesday.
Leaders of Turkey and Brazil came to Tehran in mid May to strike a deal that would see Iran transfer 1,200 kilograms of 3.5—per—cent enriched uranium to Turkey, in exchange for 120 kilograms of 20—per—cent enriched uranium destined for a medical research reactor.
“Moving through (the) Security Council a resolution will kill this initiative,” Mr. Mottaki said during an event in Brussels hosted by the European Policy Studies (EPC) think—tank.
The proposed swap would take place under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but has not convinced the United States and the European Union, which are still pushing for stronger sanctions at the UN.
Both fear the trilateral deal does not offer enough assurances against the threat of Iran using the enriched uranium to manufacture nuclear weapons.
“There are two options: the first option is based on cooperation and confidence building, the other option is based on confrontation.
We do consider moving to a resolution in the Security Council as a base for confrontation,” Mr. Mottaki warned.
“That is not what we prefer, that is not our priority. But it’s up to the other parties who would like to move in that direction,” he added, without mentioning any particular country.
But the foreign minister said that Iran might go ahead with domestic production of enriched uranium even if the uranium swap deal went ahead.
“When we receive our 20—per—cent—enriched uranium ... then we will decide — that is our decision — (whether) it is feasible to find 20—per—cent uranium through exchange or buying or producing. That is our decision,” he stressed.
Still, Mr. Mottaki said he was “optimistic” about the success of the Brazil—Turkey deal, claiming that his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, told him in a telephone conversation on Sunday that he supported the proposal.
Russia is one of the five permanent UN Security Council members that has been dealing with the Iranian nuclear programme in the “5+1” Group. The other countries are the United States, China, France, Britain and Germany.
The EU conducted negotiations with Tehran on behalf of the group, but talks have been going nowhere for years.
During his trip to Brussels Mr. Mottaki had a closed door meeting on Tuesday in the European Parliament, a body which has no say on EU foreign policy. No meetings were foreseen with the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.