Iran on Monday agreed to swap a major part of its low enriched uranium stocks on Turkish soil for an equivalent amount of uranium enriched to 19.75 per cent, potentially ending a stand-off with the U.S. and Europe that threatened to spiral into sanctions.
Iran needs the higher grade enriched uranium to fuel the Tehran Research Reactor, used by it to produce medical isotopes.
The deal was reached after 18 hours of negotiations ending 4 a.m. among Iran, Turkey and Brazil, leaving Washington and its allies red-faced. The U.S. and Europe are pressing for the punitive route and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had predicted last week that the Brazilian-Turkish attempt at mediation would fail.
This point was rubbed in by the Brazilian and Turkish Foreign Ministers who flanked their Iranian counterpart, Manoucher Mottaki, at a press conference just before the commencement of the G-15 summit to announce a trilateral agreement that will now be sent to the Vienna Group and the International Atomic Energy Agency for further action. “The success achieved by Iran, Turkey and Brazil shows there is room for diplomacy. There is no ground anymore for new sanctions,'' Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said. He gave an assurance that till the uranium swap took place, Turkey would safeguard the Iranian LEU stock as its own property.
India, whose Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna was present in Tehran, was out of the loop and had no comments to offer on a deal that overshadowed the presence of six heads of state and nearly a dozen Ministers for the G-15 summit.
“We have done this to open the way for constructive dialogue,'' Mr. Davuoglu stressed.
“This [talks] is the route to peace…we have established the principles of cooperation in future,'' said Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
Potentially ends Tehran's stand-off with the U.S. and Europe that threatened to spiral into sanctions Iran needs higher grade enriched uranium to fuel the Tehran Research Reactor