Saturday, September 25, 2010

Iran may halt for fuel

'Whenever they give us the fuel and we are in possession of it, we can examine a halt,' Mr Ahmadinejad said at a press conference in New York. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TEHERAN - PRESIDENT Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Iran would consider halting its 20 per cent uranium enrichment if the West provides the fuel for a medical reactor in Teheran, ISNA news agency reported on Saturday.

'Whenever they give us the fuel and we are in possession of it, we can examine a halt' in enriching uranium to 20 per cent, Mr Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying at a press conference in New York on Friday.

In February, Mr Ahmadinejad ordered Iranian atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi to step up uranium refinement to 20 per cent after a deal drafted by the UN atomic watchdog to supply the material to Tehran hit deadlock.

'Initially, we were not interested in building a new plant for the 20 per cent fuel. Based on the law, members of the (International Atomic Energy) Agency were supposed to provide us with the fuel,' Mr Ahmadinejad said.

'We informed the agency of our demand that member states should give us the fuel, but they turned this issue into a political game,' he said.

Iran had previously enriched uranium to just 3.5 per cent purity but it says the 20 per cent enrichment is required to fuel the reactor in the capital. Since February, Iranian officials have said on several occasions that they could stop 20 per cent enrichment if negotiations with the West to exchange their lower level uranium for the fuel are successful. -- AFP

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