Iran says three-way summit could finalize nuclear deal with West
Weekend meeting with Turkish and Brazilian presidents could see Tehran agree to export uranium for enrichment.
Tehran said it hoped that a trilateral summit between Iran, Brazil and Turkey at the weekend would lead to finalization of a uranium exchange deal, the news network Khabar reported Thursday.
"Brazilian President (Luiz Inacio) Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan have had sufficient talks with the world powers, including China, Russia and the United States over the nuclear issue," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Khabar.
"Therefore, we hope that the trilateral summit will lead to the finalization of the uranium exchange deal," Mottaki added.
As the world powers push towards a new UN resolution against Iran, Lula and Erdogan, whose countries have agreed to mediate in the ongoing nuclear dispute with Iran, are to arrive in Tehran on Saturday and hold talks with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday.
Observers say that Mottaki's remarks indicate that Iran has put big hopes in the trilateral summit as the Islamic state's probable last chance to avoid a renewed resolution by the United Nations Security Council and sanctions.
According to a plan brokered in October by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the world's nuclear watchdog, Iran's low-enriched uranium was to be exported to Russia for further enrichment and then to France for processing into fuel for a Tehran
Tehran insists that the swap should be on Iranian soil but world powers and the Vienna-based IAEA refused to have the handover take place in Iran.
Lula and Erdogan are expected to persuade Iran to find a third option. Making the swap in Turkey, which is Iran's neighbour, could be one alternative, observers say.
Although the deal would not entirely settle the dispute, it has been seen as a first step towards unlocking further talks on Iran's nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad on Wednesday showed himself once again unimpressed by the latest threats of sanctions and said in Yasouj, southern Iran, that new UN resolutions would be "not worth a penny."
He added that the world powers should know that Iran would not retreat "even one millimetre" from its nuclear path and legitimate rights.
Iran rejects Western charges that it has been working on a secret program to make an atomic bomb and insists it has the right to pursue peaceful nuclear development.